Watch the Chicago River Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

The Chicago River

Jim Young/Reuters/Landov

updated 03/17/2014 AT 1:10 PM ET

originally published 03/17/2014 AT 11:00 AM ET

The Chicago River glowed a bright emerald green Saturday as the city kicked off its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Thousands of cheering onlookers clustered along downtown bridges as members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 began dumping containers of dye into the river from motorboats Saturday morning. The annual tradition began at 9:30 a.m. and immediately preceded the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The union has done the dyeing since 1962. Organizers had feared that large chunks of ice would impede the process, but recent warm temperatures kept the river clear. The hue typically lasts about six to 12 hours.

Here, a woman pauses for a selfie with the newly-green Chicago River.

The Chicago River

Paul Beaty/AP
Members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 dump green dye in the Chicago River.

Jim Young/Reuters/Landov

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