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Chicago celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

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CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 11: A tour boat navigates the Chicago River shortly after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Dyeing the river has been a St. Patrick's Day tradition in the city since 1962. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Saturday was the official kickoff to Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, complete with the dyeing of the Chicago River and the parade through Grant Park downtown.

For some, the party started early. Jameson shots and cocktails were flowing at 7 a.m. at ‘Raised,’ the rooftop bar at the Renaissance Chicago downtown on West Wacker.

“I woke up at 5:30 a.m. because I took a shower, got ready, so it was an early day,” Jessica Perez said.

Amanda Kelley said when you start the party that early you've got to have a game plan.

"You just make sure you are staying hydrated you always have to alternate with water and make sure you're being hydrated at the same time," Amanda Kelley said.

Chicagoans stood and watched as the Chicago River was dyed green, then headed into the streets to join other revelers.

"The energy in the streets is really fun, its really exciting so we are just playing off that," Jon Fink said.

It was a sea of green stretching along Columbus Drive for the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade. There was no shortage of green beads - green hats - and green hair!

The parade was also filled with politicians like Governor Rauner, who left the route to mingle and shake hands with the crowd.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also took part. He and other dignitaries passed along a message of celebration and inclusion. From Irish flags to marching bands to Irish dancers, fun loving familiar faces, and bagpipes of course.