Irish? More like Chi-rish! With a huge Irish population and a legacy of wild holiday festivities, Chicago is known to be one of the best places to visit to get in the St. Patrick's Day spirit. Year after year, celebrations bring out big crowds, parades, and plenty of shamrock-covered costumes — plus, the Chicago River gets dyed green, a tradition that dates back to 1962. This year, locals worried about a major buzzkill when chilly temperatures called coloring the river into question, but despite giant chunks of ice floating along the water, it's been announced that festivities will go on as planned. How, exactly, does the dye job work? Four workers in one boat dump dye into the river, and four workers in another boat help to spread the color around. About an hour and a half later, the Chicago River is a bright green, staying that way for six to 10 hours. Channel the luck of the Irish with a look at why Chicago may just be the best place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!
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St. Paddy's Day starts with a big Irish feast.
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Irish flags are everywhere.
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So are shamrock flags.
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And giant bottles of Jameson.
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Chicagoans are divided into South Side Irish and Everyone Else.
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Guinness gloves are a thing.
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Along with rainbow balloons.
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(There are lots of balloons.)
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The sports teams get festive, with even the Blackhawks Ice Crew rocking green.
But the main attraction is the Chicago River, dyed green.
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As in — very, very bright green.
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Huge crowds make their way to the riverbanks.
It gets totally chaotic.
Even the fountains show their Irish pride.
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And, oh, there's a leprechaun just jetting over the water like Iron Man.
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Ahead of time, everybody collects a crazy mix of shamrock-covered flair.
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Dogs, too, get into the holiday spirit.
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They wear cute little green sweaters.
Or, you know, their fur is dyed green.
Starting very early in the morning, the streets look like this.
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And the el trains look like this.
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People drink a lot of these.
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And there's a big parade, including bagpipes.
And Irish dancers.
And leprechaun mascots.
Chicagoans sport big green glasses and big green hats.
There are painted faces and kids standing on shoulders.
Also, kids wrapped in Irish blankets.
Rain or shine, it's a party.
Beer-themed styles are all the rage.
And it's encouraged to become a ginger for the day.
Sometimes, Justin Bieber makes a holiday appearance.
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And pub food is everyone's best friend.
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But seriously, did we mention the leprechaun wearing jet shoes?
Cheers to the Chirish!
Way to do St. Patrick's Day right, Chicago.
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