Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is a fun and festive celebration for not just people of Irish decent, but everyone. A Chicago St. Patrick’s Day celebration is filled with nothing but green and excited people all around. The windy city takes St. Patrick’s Day to another level especially with them dyeing their river green! If you’re coming to Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day you better be prepared to celebrate like you never have! Take a look at all the different Chicago St. Patrick’s Day events going on and head out to one of these green-filled parties!

St. Patrick’s Day History:

Let’ start off with a little history about St. Patrick’s Day before we dive into the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day events. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 every year to honor the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day became an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. This day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as St. Patrick. It is also a celebration of the Irish culture and customs and not just a religious holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday that is celebrated worldwide and not just by people of Irish descent. Now let’s take a look at what you could do for your Chicago St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day River Dyeing:

Chicago might be one of the top cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. To start, Chicago dyes the Chicago River green before their St. Patrick’s Day parade! Everyone is welcomed to come out and watch as the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers dye the river a beautiful and bright emerald green. This Chicago St. Patrick’s Day tradition has gone on for over 40 years now. The tradition started in 1961 when a plumber who was wearing white coveralls approached Stephen Bailey. The plumber’s clothing was stained with the perfect shade of Irish green, which was noticeable against the white coveralls. From this, the dye for the lake to turn it the perfect color green was discovered.

Initially, you may think that the dye isn’t correct because the color of it is orange at first. After a few moments of the orange dye being on the river, it begins to almost magically transform the entire river the beautiful Irish green! Stephen Baily said the road to Ireland is marked green from the Chicago River being dyed, which is partially true. The dye travels through the Chicago River to the Illinois River, then to the Mississippi, up the Gulf Stream and across the Atlantic where the beautiful green then enters the Irish Sea, marking it’s way from Chicago to Ireland. Don’t worry through the dye is eco-friendly and does no harm to the marine life!

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Events:

Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade

Now not only does Chicago dye their river green, but they also host different Chicago St. Patrick’s Day events as well. To accompany the river dyeing, Chicago hosts a St. Patrick’s Day parade shortly after. For 2017, the river dyeing will take place on Sunday, March 11, 2017, at 9 am. The parade will begin at 11 am and the route begins on the corner of Columbus Drive and Balbo then continues North to Monroe. At the parade, you can expect to see bagpipes, drum corps, Irish dancers all marching down the Chicago streets celebrating their Chicago St. Patrick’s Day pride.

After you’ve had your fix of the downtown activities or if you’re just looking for something else to do, check out the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day festival! The festival will feature Irish food and traditional Irish customs. At the festival, you will see people dressed in traditional Irish clothing performing Irish music and dances. Grab some Irish gifts from the street vendors around and take part in their Irish arts and crafts fair. There will also be child-friendly activities going on as well making this a great event for families to attend. There will also be a St. Patrick’s Day 5K and 8K run to support the Greater Chicago Food Dispensary. If you would like to register for this run please click here. To view more of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day events going on click here.