CHICAGO — It's that time of year again.
Thousands of people, all decked in green, flocked to Chicago to see the river dyed an emerald hue and to enjoy a parade under sunny skies Saturday.
Shakoria Simmons, 9, of Old Town, was in the parade cheerleading for her school, St. Benedict.
"We got to march and the crowd was screaming," Simmons said.
"And we got to enjoy the St. Patrick's parade," said her aunt, Mary Simmons, of Bronzeville.
Shakoria hadn't been to the parade before but wants to return: "I enjoyed it. When we were all together, marching, everybody was just enjoying the parade together, and that was good because there's so much crime and everything that's been going on in Chicago lately. Everybody came together today and just enjoyed the parade. It was really nice."
Revelers came from all over the world, too.
Siqi Liu, who is from China but is studying in Chicago, said this was her first St. Patrick's Day, and she loved the river but was sad to miss the dyeing process.
Her first impression? "Lots of people with green hats, who put green on their hair--it's very funny."
She hasn't seen anything like it before, she said.
"There is no such day in China," Liu said. "I like America! I'm happy to be in Chicago. I'm enjoying [it] here."
Others started the day much earlier — but not necessarily to see the boats dye the river.
Kasey Wierzbicki, of Madison, Wisconsin, came for a bar crawl in Wrigleyville.
"It was a lot of fun. We went to a couple different bars down there, mostly on North Clark Street around Wrigley Field, and then we decided to come down here and see the river, too."
"It's cool. I've actually grown up in the Midwest ... this is my first time seeing it green, so it was awesome to be down here and finally see it."
She's Irish, but celebrating isn't necessarily about her heritage.
"It is cool to be able to say, 'I'm Irish and so this is part of my heritage,' but I'd be a liar if I said it was totally about heritage. It's mostly about fun and hanging out with friends."
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