Chicago Local Information
Those with Irish ancestry – or those who simply enjoy any excuse for a knees-up – should consider attending the 50th St Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago. The parade on March 12th will see marching bands, floats and hundreds of citizens dressed in green who come to enjoy the annual family day out. The parade begins at Balbo and Columbus at noon, proceeding north up Columbus Drive to Buckingham fountain. One of the more extraordinary aspects of Chicago’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is the tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green. In 1962, a city plumber whose overalls had been dyed green inspired labour leader Stephen Bailey to turn the river green for St Patrick’s Day. Green water, green marchers and for the adventurous, even green beer is on offer! But to really see Chicago in all of its green glory, take a walk downtown after dark and see hundreds of buildings flooded with green light, including the Hancock Building and the Sears Tower. Although some may wonder as to the scale of Chicago’s celebrations, the city does have a rich Irish heritage. Growing from just a few hundred immigrants in the 1830s, Chicago grew to become America’s fourth largest Irish city by 1860. But in the last 50 years, St Patrick’s Day has become much more than just an Irish celebration, with people from all cultures getting in on the celebrations. You may not be in Ireland, or even be Irish, but put on a big smile and hold your Guinness high, because everyone’s Irish on this day.
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