Monday, March 16, 2009

Emerald City

This is going to cover two topics today, in brief: "A year in Chicago" and more in depth "St. Patty's Day in Chicago."

A couple weeks ago marked a year that Nolan and I drove from our home, the West to explore the the Midwest. We have officially been here for 1 year and 3 weeks! The year flew by, what with the big move, new jobs, Nolan's new career move onto the river, our engagement, and the meeting of new Midwest friends and several introductions to soon to be family for both of us. We are truly blessed to have found one another and can't imagine a more exciting or better time in our lives than where we are right now!

That being said, we still have a great time exploring the city, St. Patrick's Day was NO exception. Chicago is filled to the max with fun green celebrations including, green beer, a green dyed Chicago river, a downtown parade, the South Side Irish Parade, and several small celebrations around the neighborhoods. This last weekend was in the 50's, twenty degrees higher than last year, proving to be much more of a pleasant experience!

This year Nolan and I celebrated by walking around, seeing the Chicago River and having some drinks at a few of our favorite watering holes.

The dying of the Chicago River is a fun event, no matter your vantage point, but I do have to say, last year's was pretty dang cool! (soon see last year's pictures below) This year we were walking along the streets closest to the river and finally planted ourselves on the Wabash bridge.

We were close enough this year to see the dye boat speed beneath us. The dye begins as an orange powder and reacts with the water to turn a florescent green. The day is full of nonsense! It's a great time to do some people watching!

According to Wikipedia, "Bill King, the administrator of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day committee, stated that "the idea of dyeing the Chicago River green originally came about by accident when a group of plumbers were using fluorescein dye to trace illegal substances that were polluting the river". [14]

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlawed the use of fluorescein for this purpose, since it was proven to be harmful to the river.[14] The secret ingredients used to dye the river green today are claimed to be safe and not harmful to the thousands of living organisms that find a habitat in the Chicago river. In 1966 environmentalists forced a change to a vegetable based dye to protect the thousands of goldfish that populate the river.[c[14]]"

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