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Photographer's Note

Kayaks maneuvering the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day celebration

Every year, the downtown portion of the Chicago River is dyed green to signal the beginning of St. Patrick's Day celebration in this city with a fairly huge Irish community. The tradition of greening the river has been going on since the 1960s.

Last Saturday (March 11, 2006), about 40 pounds (roughly 18 kilos) of vegetable dye was scattered into the river. Starting as an orange powder, the dye got transformed into green when it hit the water. The composition of the dye is secret and is entrusted to two families and handed from one generation to another. This tradition is so unique that plane loads of Irish tourists from Ireland come to Chicago just to see the sight.

Shortly after the greening of the river, the downtown St. Patrick's Day parade was held, one of the biggest St. Paddy's day parade in the world. Another one, the southside St. Patrick's Day parade was held the following day. Chicago is such an Irish town, our mayor is of Irish descent.

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Additional Photos by Ken Ilio (flip89) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 537 W: 173 N: 576] (3418)
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