On this Saturday morning in March, loads of people are heading downtown to partake in Irish libations. St. Patrick's Day isn't until later this week, but in Chicago the celebrations have begun. The lights on the downtown buildings have been green for about a week now, and Shamrock Shakes are in abundance at every Golden Arches. Today is the big event, with Mercy's spring fundraiser, Shamrocks for Kids. People have been selling shamrock pins out on the streets to raise money and awareness and there is a party after the parade at the Hilton downtown with food, music and games. Today is also the major hoopla of the parade and dying of the Chicago River.
The river dying is such a strange tradition, but apparently it's magical the way the dye starts orange and changes to green. And according to everything I've read, the dye is environmentally safe. Not that you can really make the Chicago River any more dirty or polluted than it already is.
I've never been a huge St. Patrick's Day fan (ie, I've never actually celebrated it besides Shamrock Shakes and I hate that stupid rule about pinching people for not wearing green.), but here I think I may buy in to all the festivities and at least go check out the river later. My community also has another Saturday Family Dinner planned for tonight--it's been awhile since we had an informal gathering and we love any excuse to throw a party, even if the majority of us are no where near Irish.