Chicago's Plumbers union members dye the Chicago River green as part of Chicago's celebration of St. Patrick's Day Saturday, March 13, 2010 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
People watch as the Chicago River is dyed green in Chicago, Saturday, March 13, 2010 as part of Chicago's celebration of St. Patrick's Day. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
By KMOV Web Producer
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago River is glowing a bright emerald green Saturday as the city kicks off its St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Thousands of cheering onlookers clustered along downtown bridges as members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 began dumping containers of dye into the river from motorboats Saturday morning. The annual tradition began at 9:30 a.m. and immediately precedes the St. Patrick's Day parade.
The union has done the dyeing since 1962. Organizers had feared that large chunks of ice would impede the process, but recent warm temperatures kept the river clear. The hue typically lasts about six to 12 hours.
The parade began at noon. The route winds through downtown and ends at the landmark Buckingham Fountain.
A second parade on the city's South Side takes place Sunday.