Chicago River will turn green earlier this year

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By Kim Geiger, Tribune reporter

Organizers of Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities have decided to move up the dyeing of the Chicago River to 9:30 a.m.

Citing concerns about moving the large crowds that gather along the river to watch the annual tradition, Kevin Sherlock, an event organizer with the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 that oversees the river dyeing and the parade that follows, said things will get started even earlier next year, at about 9 a.m.

The dyeing was previously scheduled for 10 a.m., but organizers have found it difficult to start the parade on time with so many people gathered along the river to watch it turn green.

“It’s killing Michigan Avenue,” Sherlock said. “At 9 in the morning, there will be 20,000 people. By 10, you’ll have close to 50,000, depending on the weather. That’s why we’re pushing it earlier and earlier, so we can try to disperse the crowd.”

The parade begins at noon at Columbus Drive and Balbo Ave.

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