Chicago dyes river green for St. Patrick’s Day again in surprise about-face

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Chicago’s mayor has turned the river that runs through the city into an Irish stew for St. Patrick’s Day — dyeing it bright green as per a tradition that was nixed last year because of COVID-19.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot had canceled the annual dyeing in 2020 — and vowed to do the same this year — because of the coronavirus, citing social-distancing concerns over the crowds it typically draws.

But she changed course at the last minute this year in a bid to uplift local spirits — and businesses — and boat crews began dumping the dye into the Chicago River around 7 a.m. Saturday.

The river-dyeing was not publicized to avoid crowds from congregating on its banks, a mayoral spokesman said.

“We’re happy that Mayor Lightfoot decided to continue with this tradition because we truly missed it last year, as a lot of other things in 2020,” local Lori Jones, 59, told the Chicago Tribune.

The city has been turning its river into something more akin to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn to mark the Irish holiday since 1962.

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

A group takes a selfie in front of the green Chicago River on March 13, 2021.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

A person in a kayak on the Chicago River on March 13, 2021.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

People looking out at the green Chicago River on March 13, 2021.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

The Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

In A Surprise Move, Chicago River Dyed Green Ahead Of St Patrick's Day

The Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Organizers of the Chicago tradition have claimed that the dye is vegetable-based and safe — although they have been notoriously mum on what exactly it is comprised of.

The dye is actually orange — but turns green when it hits the water.

With Post wires

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