Crowds return to the Chicago River as city goes green for St. Pat’s

After COVID shutdowns, Chicago’s river dyeing and parade came back Saturday.

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The Chicago River is dyed green Saturday, March 12, 2022.

The Chicago River is dyed green Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

St. Patrick’s Day revelers returned to the Loop Saturday for the city’s first full-blown celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Crowds gathered along the Chicago River for the annual river-dyeing rite that was nixed in 2020 and held without many in attendance amid a case surge in 2021.

Lauren Chavosky of Oak Lawn, went to see the river with her husband and four children. For her youngest child, born in 2020, it was the first St. Pat’s without restrictions.

“We’re just excited for all the events to come back and to celebrate the Chi-Irish,” Chavosky said.

A group of people take a selfie with the dyed green Chicago River in the background at the LaSalle Street Bridge, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

A group of people take a selfie with the dyed green Chicago River in the background at the LaSalle Street Bridge, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The family had plans to see Irish dancers later in the day and attend the South Side Irish Parade Sunday, skipping the downtown parade that also made its COVID comeback down the street.

The Shannon Rovers step off the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

The Shannon Rovers step off the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Lines wrapped around the block outside River North bars, as people were bundled up against the mid-March cold. Most party-goers went maskless.

“It’s cool seeing everybody back out, everybody having a good time — a lot of smiles,” said Ozzy Arias, a Chicago resident taking in his first downtown St. Pat’s celebration. “It’s a beautiful thing when everybody gets back out together with a group of friends.”

CTA trains were packed heading into the Loop. “Don’t worry, I’m vaccinated,” a woman said before handing a friend a bottle at a Blue Line station.

Rachel Mavros spent the morning with friends in Old Town before heading to see the green river for the first time. “We’re just super excited,” she said.

Mavros and her friends said they weren’t worried about the crowds at bars.The city scrapped its vaccine and mask mandates for bar patrons last month as the number of coronavirus cases has fallen to an eight-month low, and three-quarters of Chicagoans have completed at least their initial vaccine series.

“Best city in the world,” one man shouted as he ran past the group on the State Street bridge.

Members of the Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the Chicago River green, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Members of the Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the Chicago River green, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Members of the Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the Chicago River green, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Members of the Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the Chicago River green, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Hundreds of people watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Hundreds of people watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Color guard members with the North Bay Haven Buccaneers marching band huddle together with a space blanket wrapped around them to keep warm before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Color guard members with the North Bay Haven Buccaneers marching band huddle together with a space blanket wrapped around them to keep warm before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen Kelly Leyden waves to the crowd while walking with the Plumber Union Local 130, during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen Kelly Leyden waves to the crowd while walking with the Plumber Union Local 130, during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Governor J.B. Pritzker, left, and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, wave to the crowds during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, left, and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, wave to the crowds during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, left, and wife Amy Eshleman, wave to the crowds during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, left, and wife Amy Eshleman, wave to the crowds during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Emerald Society Pipes and Drums march and play, during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

The Emerald Society Pipes and Drums march and play, during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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