A modern day miracle occurs each year as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration when the Chicago River turns an incredible shade of Irish green.

The 43-year-old tradition came about by happenstance. A couple of plumbers discovered that the dye they used to detect leaks heading into the river turned a bright, kelly green. They brought the news to Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local 110 business manager Stephen Bailey, who then asked around and ultimately received permission to try and dye the river green..

Check out the (50 sec) time lapse video below to watch the whole dyeing process:

So what is the formula for the dye?

Just like any famous recipe, it’s a closely guarded secret! But it’s said that they use a vegetable-based dye, used by the military for sea rescues. The same dye is used by plumbers to locate leaks in water systems. A relatively small amount of dye is needed to create the green effect. Approximately 25 pounds of dye colors the entire Chicago River for up to three days. The formula has been thoroughly tested by independent chemists and has been proven safe for the environment.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! ♣

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      1. November 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm, Jessica wrote:

        Cool. I think thats just wierd.

      2. March 17, 2012 at 9:51 am, Michelle Stewart wrote:

        Awesome! My 4 year old daughter and I really enjoyed that! We had no idea it even occured! :) We live in Louisville and it’s amazing to see things that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise. Thank you VERY much for the great video!! :)

      3. March 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm, Jordan Blalock wrote:

        That is really cool; my family is coming next week.

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