A river runs green

I’ve only been working in Chicago for a little more than three years, but I’ve already exhausted my ideas on how to cover the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Yesterday, they dyed the Chicago River green, just as they do every year. I’ve photographed it before. Everyone here has. Large crowds, closed roads, a few drunk people here and there. Here’s my take from this year’s event.

89 Responses to “A river runs green”

  1. I like your take on this. Just don’t drink the Kool Aid up there in the Windy City.

    • Ehh, I feel ya. It gets easy to be jaded about annual celebrations, especially big touristy ones. Kvetching about Mardi Gras is a pretty good test of how long you’ve been in this city…

      But the long and short of it is: have a good time and don’t worry about what’s cool. Maybe you might, god forbid, enjoy yourself.

      Also, what’s with the workers? Maybe focusing on a different aspect of a “tired” ritual could bring new life to it for you?

      • Oh, I enjoy it. People are usually in good spirits and it beats the heck out of sitting at a desk. I simply feel like the “angles” for shooting this have been exhausted to an extent. That’s more an indication of being “burned out” than jaded, but your point is well received. In the end, having fun is key in whatever you do in life.

  2. Cool photos you do such a great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. cool pics. how do they do it?

  4. Then the green politicians have a perfect place to get some privacy?

  5. So, is the team that turns the water green honorary or significant in some way? Like the dude who throws the first pitch at a game?

    Just curious. Looks like a big event — and totally fun!

    Thank you for sharing.

    🙂

  6. @Tinkerbelle: They use an environmentally safe (so they say at least) dye that is in a dry, chalk form that is actually a orange. Doesn’t take much of the stuff to make the water green and then they stir it up with a couple boats.

  7. @Mikalee: It’s pretty much the same crew every year. They are something of celebrities for about 30 minutes, once a year. This year they honored one of their regular crew members, Mark Butler, who passed away from cancer in 2010. I’ve never seen honorary crew members though.

  8. I thought the dye guy was dressed up like a zombie, some weird Chicago St. Pat’s ritual, then I realized it was the dye. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!

  9. Neat photos! I’d like to go see that some year!

  10. That’s how we do it here in Chicago!

  11. I thought he was a zombie or something too. Creepy a bit!

  12. The dude with the dye on his face looks like he’s in the early stages of Zombie makeup application!

  13. I lived in Chicago for 8 years and never went to see this! Too many people. Of course I knew they did it. Great pics. Feels like I was there, finally.

  14. These photos are so amazing! I always wondered how they dyed the river green. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. I was “lucky” enough to be in Chicago several years ago for St. Patty’s Day! What a fun sight to see the river dyed green! I think it’s great for cities/towns to have traditions and I’m so glad the PC environmentalists haven’t stopped it!

  16. thats cool God help them all

  17. […] His response can only be described as a physical gesture of “Bah Humbug!” and some grumbling about how he doesn’t like this day of green celebration. […]

  18. The water looks great… but the guys creep me out big time!
    Happy St Patricks Day! 🙂

    http://alltheprettylittlethings.wordpress.com/

  19. Outrageous pics – thanks for sharing and congrats on FP 🙂

  20. Great pictures, very cool tradition!

  21. […] Mar 1. St. Patrick’s Day back home. Seriously, no one does it better than Chicago! From the dying of the river to the copious amounts of corned beef and cabbage on special in every restaurant to the bar crawls […]

  22. I told all my ESL students about this amazing tradition and gave them links to your blog! Super fun!

  23. i live in chicago and this always is a cool thing to see. not too many people know about this tradition but great post and nice being freshly pressed to let people see it

  24. […] I've only been working in Chicago for a little more than three years, but I've already exhausted my ideas on how to cover the annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Yesterday, they dyed the Chicago River green, just as they do every year. I've photographed it before. Everyone here has. Large crowds, closed roads, a few drunk people here and there. Here's my take from this year's event. … Read More […]

  25. Great photos!! I can’t believe how green the river looks!! Happy St Patty’s Day!!

  26. I was there two years back…its real fun…looking your pics it refreshed my memories.

  27. Great site! I’d like to feature your site on my Blog profiles page. Let me know if you’d be interested.

    Jared Winn
    JCWinn Local-Internet Directory
    http://jcwinn.com

  28. […] I've only been working in Chicago for a little more than three years, but I've already exhausted my ideas on how to cover the annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Yesterday, they dyed the Chicago River green, just as they do every year. I've photographed it before. Everyone here has. Large crowds, closed roads, a few drunk people here and there. Here's my take from this year's event. … Read More […]

  29. I’ve never seen this river green, thanks for the wonderful photos. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  30. Love it!! Chicago native living in Texas so I miss the annual St. Patrick’s Day green river!

  31. One of our great Chicago traditions!

  32. Cool photos! I’ve been to Chicago a few times, but never to see the green river. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed:)

  33. Thanks for sharing. In came to work today and found myself without green on. Well I guess I I’ll be getting pinched! OUCH!

  34. very devastating…congrats on being fp’ed!

  35. Cool photo’s. Does this impact the environment?

  36. I find it so cool that they turn the water green, though I gotta agree that the guys who do it look quite scary with the dye on their faces.

  37. It’s amazing! a great spectacle to open river!

    これは驚くべきことだ!素晴らしい光景は、川を開くために

    É incrivel!!! um grande espetaculo a rio aberto!!!

  38. I’m glad some other people commented on the zombie guy thing, I couldn’t figure it out. Fun times. I never knew they did this.

  39. Thanks for that post is was good

  40. So they put something orange in the water and it turns green? The guys in the boats don’ look like they’re having a good time.

    I was in Chicago shopping last year on the Saturday of the St. Paddy’s day parade. If I had realized it was parade day I probably would not have gone. Very crowded, hard to get served in a restaurant, and all the buses smelled like urine. Was glad to get out of the city as quick as I could. Thanks for sharing your photos – very interesting.

  41. […] I wonder if other parts of the continent are similarly low-key with the green today– Chicago is apparently keeping its end up, if nowhere […]

  42. Okay, while I don’t live under a rock, I did somehow manage to miss this illustrious event. Thanks for photographing it one more time so I finally had a chance to see it!

  43. Wow, I’ve never seen that before. I feel bad for the guy that gets all dirty doing it.

  44. Wow…never even knew that they did that each year…great pics!

  45. How…exactly does the green river work? Do you end up with green fish filets until summer?

  46. my favorite color has always been green, expect on St. Patty’s day. It’s just to much of an uproar

  47. I love the last two shots – nice with the half regular half green river. I’ve always loved looking at Chi-Town’s green river in pictures. Festive in a big way.

    Congratulations on being FP!

  48. yikes!!!! I hope they use non-toxic colorant…

  49. How long before the dye is gone??

  50. I was in Chicago years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. A few locals told us the town gets reallly crazy and people drink all day long. They suggested that if we weren’t into it, it could be a little much, so be careful. We had gone out for lunch and decided a quick trip to a couple of shops and then we would head back to our hotel. We had a nice quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant and spent the evening there at the hotel, where we watched all the frivolity on the local news. I was perfectly okay with that.

    Thanks for sharing your images!

  51. For a second I thought the photos were fromJapan! The colour looks slightly radio-active.

  52. What awesome photos!! Congrats on these great shots. I’m curious about what kind of camera you use?

  53. Now that’s a way to celebrate! I usually hear about parades and that’s about all. Great photos, the man seems like a zombie 😛

  54. oh my god

    the river is amazing

    nice post

  55. Very nice, seeing something like this for the first time.

  56. […] I've only been working in Chicago for a little more than three years, but I've already exhausted my ideas on how to cover the annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Yesterday, they dyed the Chicago River green, just as they do every year. I've photographed it before. Everyone here has. Large crowds, closed roads, a few drunk people here and there. Here's my take from this year's event. … Read More […]

  57. […] Btw. vill ni se hur Chicago firade sin St Patrick’s Day?? Well, check this out at…a-river-runs-green […]

  58. Isnt that a bit polluting?

  59. Hehe. This one’s nwe to me. I’ve never seen anythink like this before, i think it’s a cool idea, but i can also understand that after a couple of years, it could get a tad boring.

    Good work though

    Keep it up

    http://www.bernieandkelly.com

  60. Great shots! The boatman shot is really telling…a tiring, dirty job for sure. Would like to know if they volunteer or what….how’d you get out there with them? I’d love to ride with them for that once!
    Perfect choice for Freshly Pressed…congrats!

  61. I come from Wuhan,China. I want to make friend with you , my MSN :479181976@qq.com , my name is zhangjiangwei , thanks .

  62. wow! Way cool. That one guy on the boat looks about ready to keel over! What type of dye do they use to cover such a huge body of water?

    Nice post …. Happy Friday,

    Kevin

  63. Very cool! What do they put in the water to make it green? I think it’s great that Irish people still celebrate their heritage. I wish that all nationalities celebrated in such a huge and vibrant fashion!

  64. oh my god ! the river color is GREEN

  65. I thought this was for a movie being filmed somewhere and it involved zombies! Very cool photos!

  66. I don’t know, I think that it is just gross. But then again we let 20,000 rubber ducks loose in our river once a year in Kansas City, so…..

  67. I’m glad that guy is not bleeding!! This is crazy.

  68. Wow that was crazy. But what a great color. It almost looked toxic.

  69. wow. It’s my first time to see a river dyed.

  70. Now that is one way to celebrate St. Patricks day, dye the water green! The two most scariest pictures are the ones of the man in the white overall, he looks like an extra out of a zombie film and looks really scared or shattered from exhaustion.

  71. Wow, amazing photos, dye a river green is really fantastic and always an incredible and beautiful scene.
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful scenes.

    Vanimator
    http://www.vanimator.com

  72. I’m going to be going to school there in Fall 2011 I can’t wait to go and see this happen. The pictures are great with the way they capture emotion and brilliance at the same time.

  73. Amazing stuff! The photos are great!

    mypoemsforever.wordpress.com

  74. Amazing stuff! The photos are great!
    I was new in the world of bloggers so please guidance yes, And your blog is very useful to me.

  75. So, is the team that turns the water green honorary or significant in some way? Like the dude who throws the first pitch at a game?

    Just curious. Looks like a big event — and totally fun!

    Thank you for sharing.

  76. my favorite color has always been green, expect on St. Patty’s day. It’s just to much of an uproar

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