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It's probably too late to do this year, but here's something Rah-Rah-Rochester should do to help celebrate Minnesota's Irish heritage for St. Patrick's Day. Know what it is?

If your travels throughout southeast Minnesota have taken you near the mighty Zumbro River in downtown Rochester, did you notice how festive it looks, already decked out in green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Friday (3/17)?

Well, probably not, because the Zumbro isn’t dyed green– there won’t be any nautical nods to the ‘Luck ‘o the Irish’ as it winds through Minnesota's Med City again this year.

Chicago River Is Colored Green To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day
This isn't the Zumbro River-- it's actually the Chicago River. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

And while there are St. Patrick’s Day celebrations planned at various Rochester establishments (including the Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band making its appearances around the area) Saint Paul is probably the closest Minnesota city to us that really goes all out in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

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And while Saint Paul does put on some pretty impressive St. Patricks Day parties-- many of which are happening again after a full strength this year, after a few weird pandemic year-- nobody there dyes the Mississippi River green. (At least that I’m aware of, anyway.)

Wouldn’t it be cool, though, to see Rochester’s own main waterway dyed a festive shade of green for a few days around St. Patrick’s Day every March? Here's a really bad rendering of what it might look like:

An artist's rendering of the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester, decked out in green for St. Patrick's Day (Curt St John/Townsquare Media Rochester-Preston)
A (very poor) Photoshop rendering of what the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester could look like, if it were decked out in green for St. Patrick's Day (Curt St John/Townsquare Media Rochester-Preston)

Instead of a crappy Photoshop version, some cities really DO dye their rivers green for St. Patrick's Day, according to USA Today. In Chicago, for example, they started dyeing the Chicago River green last weekend to get ready for this week’s big doings — a practice that has been around for over 60 years now!

So how do you turn an entire river... green? Well, the article says, “The city turns the river green by dumping roughly 40 pounds of a secret formula powder into the river, Tom Rowan, the head of the river crew told The Chicago Tribune. Boats help churn the water, which mixes the environmentally-friendly powder, into the river turning it a maximum green in about 45 minutes.”

As for us here in the Med City, we’ll just have to use our imagination if we want to visualize the Zumbro River in various hues of green. Of course, depending on how much celebrating you do on St. Patrick’s Day, that task might not be all that tough to do…

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Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band 2023 St Patrick's Parade of Pubs Schedule

St Patrick's Day festivities will feel even more festive in 2023 with the holiday occurring on a Friday. The Rochester Caledonia Bagpipers will be making 12 appearances at different establishments around Rochester, Minnesota during their 2023 Parade of Pubs.

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St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and you may have the urge to run to the store and buy a box of green dye just to make something extra fun this holiday. But, there are a few things that maybe you should just leave the way they are.

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