St. Patrick’s Day is a big celebration in Chicago, and this year I got to experience the day as an attendee instead of participant. For a couple years before I moved to Vancouver, I played pipe snare with the Shannon Rovers. We play at the river dying ceremony and then lead the downtown parade. I took the opportunity this year to roam freely around and take some photos.
Throngs of people line the streets and bridges along the Chicago River to watch the river turn green. It starts at the east end, roughly between Michigan and Columbus, in front of the Gleacher Center. The Chicago Tribune has an excellent time-lapse video of the dying of the river. The bagpipes and drums? Yeah, that’s the Rovers.
So all along the river front are crowds of people. They take to standing on whatever they can to get a good view, and people form all over the world come. It had been awhile since I had heard so many different languages. Chinese. Russian. Polish and, of course, that beautiful Chicago accent. Lot of cheering, lot of drinking and general good cheer.
I missed the actual dying of the river, as shown in the time-lapse where the boats swirl around and turn the river green. Turned out to be a blessing though, as I got to see the river turn that particular St. Patrick’s Day shade of green as I made my way through the crowd to the Gleacher Center.
Biggs: “Hey Sam, let me ask you this, if they can dye this river green on St. Patrick’s Day, why can’t they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year?”
Gerard: “Biggs do i know?”
None of us! Nor do we want to, so we just enjoy the day.
I met up with my cousin and we planned to watch the parade, but wave after wave of drunk people made their way to the route and after standing around, people watching for 20 minutes, we decided coffee and a late breakfast/early lunch sounded like a better. We made our way against the tide and stopped in at The Artist’s Cafe. Not bad. Still not used to American food portions.
Can’t wait for next year!