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Chicago River Goes Green for St. Patrick's Day

There were bagpipes, dancers, drums, a St. Patrick's Day queen, politicians and thousands of festive spectators

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The city's annual parade had it all -- from bagpipes to dancers, and from drums to politicians. NBC 5's Emily Florez was there for it all.

    Chicago is going green for St. Patrick’s Day.

    The weekend festivities began Saturday with the dyeing of the Chicago River.

    The annual dyeing began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, drew a large crowd of spectators.

    The tradition is in its 52nd year and going strong. It is said that the green water connects Chicago to Ireland, as the green water flows into the Illinois River, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean all the way into the Irish Sea.

    Chicago River Dyed Green

    [CHI] Chicago River Dyed Green
    The Chicago River was dyed green Saturday, marking the start of St. Patrick's Day weekend festivities in Chicago.

    The dyeing was followed by the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade, which stepped off at noon at Balbo and Columbus Drives.

    There were bagpipes, dancers, drums, a St. Patrick's Day queen, politicians and thousands of festive celebrators.

    "We are a city of big shoulders but its built on the shoulders of immigrants who struggled to come to the shores of America," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    And while many festival goers said the sunny, mild day made for an enjoyable parade, some complained about the crowd.

    Even police called for backup to help keep some rowdy revelers in control.

    "People were very, very unruly, hard to walk through, you keep getting grabbed, but what can do you," said Enrico Soto.

    The Chicago festivities will continue Sunday.

    The South Side Irish Parade will take over Western Avenue, starting at 103rd Street and ending at 115th Street.

    Street closures will be in effect in the area beginning around 6 a.m., according to the city. Expect street closures along the route as well as staging areas from 95th Street.

    The Northwest Side Irish Parade is also scheduled for noon Sunday. The parade kicks off at William J. Onahan School on Raven Street and proceeds south onto Neola and north on Northwest Highway to Harlem.