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Thousands of spectators line the banks of the Chicago River to watch as the annual ritual of dyeing the river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day takes place Saturday, March 11, 2006 in Chicago. The tradition of dyeing the river green was started in 1962 when members of a local pipe fitters union dyed the river with permission of the mayor. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day has an interesting origin

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For the 55th year in a row, Chicago River went green Saturday for St. Patrick's Day.

But did you know this colorful tradition started by accident?

The official March for Science Chicago Twitter account explains.


Chicago plumbers poured 100 lbs of an oil-based fluorescein to find sources of illegal dumping.

Fifty five years later and the river dyeing tradition is still going strong.

Some people snapped photos of the green water.

Others used it as an opportunity to remind people about the Flint water crisis.

You can read more on this Chi town tradition in these archived newspaper clippings here.

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