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Chicago St. Patrick’s Day: Parade steps off following 2-year hiatus, Chicago River now dyed green – WLS-TV

CHICAGO (WLS) — The crowds returned downtown on Saturday for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

The Chicago St. Patrick’s Day stepped off just after noon following a two-year pandemic hiatus.

Now in its 67th year, the parade theme is “honoring Chicagoland’s essential workers.”

Earlier in the morning the Chicago River was dyed green.

Last year, Chicago still dyed the river green – but the city did it as a surprise so as not to draw large crowds in the midst of the pandemic.

The Chicago Riverwalk will be closed from 11 p.m. on Friday, March 11, through the day on Saturday, March 12 until 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 13.

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Parade organizers and the city have stepped up security and public safety to promote a family-friendly environment.

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What time is the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade?

Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off at 12:15 p.m. at Balbo and Columbus Drive proceeding north on Columbus to Monroe Street. The viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

Expect street closures as early as 8 a.m. including Columbus Drive from Roosevelt Road to Wacker Drive and east/west streets in those boundaries. Streets within the boundary of Monroe Street between Michigan Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive will be closed.

How does Chicago dye the river green for St. Patrick’s Day?

The dyeing of the Chicago River is the work of Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130. They use a proprietary dye to turn the Chicago River green in three boats, two with the secret sauce and a chaser vessel to mix it up. The dye is essentially food coloring concocted by the plumbers years ago to help trace leaks in buildings.

How long does the Chicago River stay green?

The dye will stay in the river for 24 to 48 hours.

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DuSable Lake Shore Drive or State Street can be used as an alternate route. For additional details, visit chicagostpatricksdayparade.org.

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How can I watch the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade?

The Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade will be broadcast live by ABC 7 Chicago beginning at noon. You can watch live on television, abc7chicago.com and wherever you stream ABC7. The broadcast will be posted online to watch on-demand.

Judy Hsu and Ryan Chiaverini are hosting the special, with Meteorologist Larry Mowry covering the excitement and pageantry on the street.

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What else is going on in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Saturday, March 12
The Archer Avenue parade steps off at noon at 53rd Street and South Oak Park and proceeds south on Oak Park to Archer Avenue; east on Archer to Narragansett; south on Narragansett to 5600 S. Narragansett. The parade is expected to conclude at 2 p.m. and will benefit “Get Behind the Vest,” a Chicago Police Memorial Fund effort, to provide bullet proof vest covers to police officers.

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South Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 13
The South Side Irish Parade steps off at noon at 103rd and Western Avenue, marching south to 115th and Western Avenue. Parking restrictions in the area begin at 8 a.m. and will remain until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, but anyone parking in the area that day should read signage before parking. Expect parking restrictions on both sides of the street from 103rd to 112th Streets along Western Avenue. The staging area is located on Western Avenue from 99th to 103rd Streets and Bell to Maplewood Avenues. Street closures along the parade route as well as the staging area begin as early as 9 a.m. The parade is expected to end at 3 p.m., the disbanding area is located on Western Avenue from 115th to 119th Streets. For additional details, visit southsideirishparade.org.

Northwest Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 13
The parade steps off at noon at Onahan School, at 6634 W. Raven St. proceeding south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway and north to Harlem Avenue in the Norwood Park neighborhood. Northwest Highway will be closed to vehicles at 9am. Parking restrictions are in effect along the route beginning at 7 a.m. and continue through 1:30 p.m. Both sides of the street on Neola, Raven, Northwest Highway, Normandy Avenue, Imlay, Neva, Palatine and Natoma along the route will be affected. For additional details, visit northwestsideirish.org.

Daniel Murray, 87, started the parade nearly 20 years ago to honor his wife who died in 2002. His daughter Liz, who serves as parade organizer, expects a good turnout.

“We’re ready for it,” said Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster. “We’re really ready to put on a good show. I think the participants in the parade, the dancers, the bands that we have, everybody’s excited to be back.”

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