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Making the River Green

March 16, 2007

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Chicago River has been traditionally dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day since 1962. Who started this tradition?

It was a plumber.

A plumber named Stephen Bailey. Mr. Bailey was a plumber that was contracted to find leaks into the Chicago River. This was done by placing a green dye into various openings of the waste system which provided a visual of any leaks.

It was in December of 1961 when the idea hit him on dying the River green for the next St. Patrick’s holiday. After consulting with city officials and the Fire Department, he was given the okay to make the river green.

The first year they used 100 pounds of dye which kept the river green for a week! In 1963 they used 50 pounds and the effect lasted 3 days. Finally in 1964, 25 pounds was used and it dissolved by the next day.

The dying of the Chicago River has become a world wide event and this year will be the 45th year.

Interesting? 😉

Fookem and Bug

Categories: Holiday
  1. Deafguy
    March 16, 2007 at 9:48 am

    OMG, I never see it before. I think it’s kewl.

  2. Anonymous
    March 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I am in awe situation. Unbelievable.

  3. Elizzy
    March 18, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Green Vomit! lolol

  4. Justin Icide
    March 17, 2008 at 6:42 am

    I live right next to the river and can watch it dyed annually from my window. The coolest part is that the dye used goes in orange. Then the river starts turning bright green! it stays like that for a week or so slowly fading out.

  5. anonymous
    March 17, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I think this is cool!

  6. Anonymous
    March 28, 2008 at 11:07 am


  7. Kate Eyler-Werve
    March 18, 2009 at 8:15 am

    IN the 60s, they used Florescene, which works really well but has some pesky side effects — nausea, vomiting, anafalaxis, death (!) — when you get it too close to some people. Also kills fish. Thankfully, by the late 1960s environmentalists got cranky, and after much whineing and griping and a federal “don’t kill people, you idiots” regulation, the parade committee switched to vegetable based dye. Hooray, tradition saved.

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