Green Chicago River gets a green light for St Patrick’s Day

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Too cold for a green Chicago River? There’s been a lot of concern about that, with St Patrick’s Day getting close and Chicagoland still in the deep-freeze. Organizers have been wondering, too. So today, they took a closer look and the news is good.

The big day is a week from Saturday and looking at the ice that covers the river, you’d think getting the boats out and the dye in would be impossible.  But the guys who should know say not only is it possible- it’s going to happen.

Tom Rowan has been out in that river-dying boat for 52 years, since he was a teenager helping his dad.

It takes a team of eight to do  it, split into two boats, dumping the dye between Columbus Ave and Wabash. It takes about 90 minutes. It’s cold and miserable on the water, but the big job always turns out to be a lot of fun, and they always get it done.

But after the winter we’ve had,  there has been some serious concern about whether the ice-covered river would prove too much this year for a Chicago event that’s become a global phenomenon.

Tom says don’t worry.

“The next few days it’s going be upper 30s and 40s,” he said.  “And all you need is that and a couple days of solar and it’s over with.”

The green river gets a green light for March 15th.

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