CHICAGO - The Chicago River is green after all.
After announcing earlier this month that it wouldn’t happen, Mayor Lightfoot’s office reversed course and went ahead with the St. Patrick’s Day tradition early Saturday.
The event was kept hush-hush, likely to prevent large crowds from gathering on the riverfront due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The tradition dates back to 1962 and is handled by the Plumbers Union Local 130.
The surprise dyeing is a slice of normalcy for celebrants after St. Patrick’s Day parades were canceled amid coronavirus concerns for the second straight year.
Instead, residents can tune into a small parade that will be live streamed at 2 p.m. and will feature several floats, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen Kari McClowry and Kevin Byrne, Ireland’s Consul General to Chicago, among others.
Revelers were asked to be cautious if they step out for a green beer.
Chicago’s liquor control commissioner earlier this month reminded bars and restaurants of their responsibilities to prevent St. Patrick’s Day crowds from violating COVID-19 safety protocols.
Last year, the river was not dyed because of the coronavirus pandemic.