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Chicago River Goes Green

Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2009 at 10:06 pm CET

Today we traveled to Chicago by Metra train for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the dying of the Chicago River! We arrived at Union Station at 8:30 and walked around Millennium Park a bit before heading to the river, which was scheduled to be greenified at 10:45. The riverside east of Michigan Avenue Bridge was packed with thousands of people in green hats, green wigs, green t-shirts and green everything.

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Chicago Riverwalk

We found a place to stand on the stairs going down to the Riverwalk.

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I didn’t know what to expect and had in mind that a large boat with a tank in the back would go around and unload a few hundred gallons of green stuff into the river. I couldn’t have been more wrong. At 11:00 a small boat appeared and made some circles in the river while a man sprinkled orange powder from a small cup into the water as if he was feeding fish.

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Man spreading orange powder

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The pixie dust was magical and the river quickly turned a beautiful fluorescent green, a color nowhere else seen in nature. The Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have been turning the Chicago River green for over 40 years. The formula used to dye the river has been thoroughly tested by independent chemists and has been proven safe for the environment.

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