Watch a video of Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Local Union 130 greening the river for this year's parade!

Probably Chicago’s most interesting and talked about St. Patrick’s Day tradition is dyeing a section of the Chicago River for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. According to, in 1961, parade organizer Stephen Bailey was “approached by a plumber who was wearing some white coveralls, they knew this only because they could see some of the original color. These coveralls had been mostly stained or dyed a perfect shade of green, an Irish green to better describe it. It was when Stephen Bailey asked how the coveralls got this way, that they discovered that the dye used to detect leaks into the river turned green, not just any color green, but the perfect color green.”

The Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Local Union 130 has the honor of dyeing the Chicago River each year for the parade. The YouTube video below is a time-lapsed video of this year’s “greening” event…

For more St. Patrick’s traditions and myths, read this article from The National Geographic.