Chicago's St. Patrick's Day festivities brought thousands of people downtown today for the parade and the ritual dyeing of the Chicago river.
A boat left a trail of lime green dye in the water about 10 a.m. as thousands "ooohed" in the frigid temperatures.
"It's fun," said Marva McCarty, of Des Moines, Iowa, who was wearing a green wig. "It's one of those bucket list activities."
The parade kicked off at noon at Balbo Drive and Columbus Drive in Grant Park before proceeding north on Columbus to Monroe, closing off Balbo, Congress Drive, Jackson Drive and Monroe Drive in the park area in addition to Columbus.
The event was a double celebration for Patricia Dunn, who was born on St. Patrick's Day almost 62 years ago. Dunn and her husband, Thomas, 67, perched themselves on a ledge near Wacker Drive and watched as the bright-lime green water took over the river.
"They say I have Irish in me. I married an Irish man. ... I was born on St. Patrick's Day," said Dunn, who is from Detroit. "It's in my blood."
Though she has wanted to go to the Chicago festivities for a while, this year she convinced her husband of five years to make the trip.
"I love it. It was worth every minute and every dollar spent," said Dunn, who wore green sparkly glasses and a green top hat for the occasion. "I took so many pictures."
Other travelers, however, were less enthusiastic about the weather conditions.
"It was pretty cool," said Erin Beck, 26, from Minot, N.D. But "it's not nice outside."
"The weather was a lot better last year," said Tyler Asendorf, 27, who traveled with her from North Dakota.
It was a chilly day, cloudy and blustery with temperatures struggling to reach the mid-30s. The outlook for St. Patrick's Day Sunday is no better, with Chicago expected to see the coldest St. Patrick's Day in eight years, according to WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling, with a high of about 35. The day is expected to start out sunny but clouds will mix in later in the day, as winds of 6-17 mph start out from the northeast and turn easterly. Overnight lows will reach into the upper 20s.
Naomi Nix contributed.
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