Buildings go green to show St. Patrick’s Day pride

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

Green river. Green beer. Green buildings. Is Chicago the greenest city in the world?

For the seventh year in a row, the nonprofit group ShamROCK Chicago says yes. ShamROCK Chicago is the nonprofit that works with downtown buildings to go green—to light up at night in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Blair Ciecko, director of branding and communications for the group, said the project is a fun way to promote Irish culture.

The tradition of greening landmarks comes from Tourism Ireland, a nonprofit that works to spread Irish pride around the globe, and dates back 10 years. Chicago’s joins cities worldwide, including London and Sydney who also participate in the greening initiative

Ciecko said the Chicago project is also a bit of competition with Boston—a city famous for its Irish roots.

This year’s greening kicks off March 11 with an event at a Chicago Blackhawks game.

“Prior to the game, in the atrium, were going to flip a big switch to turn the building green,” Ciecko said.

She said building owners are receptive to the celebration and the greening has grown since it started. This year, Ciecko said residents can expect nearly a dozen buildings to go green, including Willis Tower, Soldier Field, the Broadway in Chicago playhouses. Last year Navy Pier joined in and the iconic Ferris wheel lit its spokes in green light.

Ciecko added she hopes the lights get people in the spirit of the season, because even without Irish heritage, there’s a reason to celebrate.

“There’s no political aspect or donation aspect,” she said. “It’s a good way to let everyone know it’s St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.”

“Take some selfies and post them on our Facebook page,” she said. “Or Tweet them at us.”

The greening will run from March 11 to 17.
To find out more about the group, visit

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