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[av_heading heading=’St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago would not be the same if the Chicago River was not colored green. Chicagoans can thank the legendary Mayor Richard J. Daley and his love of St. Patrick’s Day for this rich Chicago tradition.’ tag=’h2′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]
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A New Tradition Is Born

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One Family Since 1962

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At that time, a man named Tom Rowan was in charge of the river’s police boats. He immediately offered to dye the Chicago River, and the rest is history. Tom Rowan died in 2002. His brother, Thomas took over the reins, and Bob Rowan joined the team in 2005.

Bob Rowen states that his family practiced “a long time” to get it right. There were issues with getting the perfect shade without bright streaks. Now, they have the ideal fluorescent hue.

Nothing keeps the Rowan family from completing this tradition.  Bob Rowen recalls that they have dyed the river in rainstorms, blizzards, and high winds.

“We did it one year when it was real windy, and the dye blew up onto Wacker Drive, so we ended up dyeing the entire South Side of Upper Wacker green. As I passed people on the street and saw green all over their faces, I was like, ‘we need to get out of here.’ It was pretty wild.”

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Magical Leprechaun Dust

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Turning the Chicago River green entails a two-hour boat trip up and down the Chicago River and connecting canals. The distance totals 156 miles. Sixty pounds of “Leprechaun Dust” is used. The recipe is a well-kept secret. However, the family is quick to note that the product is much healthier and more accessible than ever before. Fish, turtles, muskrats, and beavers inhabit the water and nearby land.

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Others Have Tried, Few Have Succeeded!

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The Rowan family has been requested to visit as far as France and Dublin to color their rivers. In Dublin, they found the river so dirty, the impact of the dye was little.

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Even The White House Got In On The Fun

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During the Obama administration, the White House dyed the water in the fountain of the south lawn green on St. Patrick’s Day.

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