SAN ANTONIO – Celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day in the Alamo City may not be in full swing due to the pandemic, but some traditions are still being celebrated.
The City of San Antonio doesn’t want large crowds gathering, so without public notice, the Riverwalk Association slowly turned the famous waters an emerald green Saturday morning.
“We’re not really publicizing what time we’re doing it,” Maggie Thompson, executive director of the association said. “We normally do that in a regular year (and) put bagpipers on the boats. This year, we’re just magically turning the river green.”
The dye used is non-toxic and approved by the San Antonio River Authority.
The Feast Day of St. Patrick has been celebrated in San Antonio since 1968. This year, it’s a different kind of celebration due to the pandemic. The St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival had to be cancelled for the second year in a row. Organizers said the one tradition still floating around is helping increase traffic at restaurants along the Riverwalk.
“It certainly does (help),” Bob Buchanan, owner of The Original Mexican Restaurant said. Buchanan has seen his share of St. Patrick’s Day parades as The Original was opened in 1987. He along with his business partner opened their first restaurant, Kangaroo Court, in 1968. “It’s just a fun weekend (that) was done (originally) with the Harp and Shamrock Society and the Central Catholic High School Band. They would always lead and play the national anthems of the two countries. It was marvelous.”
The company that operates the river barges is also taking part in the celebrations.
“Go Rio, the tour boats, (each night) they light up their boats green,” Thompson said. “So, you’ll just see a green procession and the boats. It’s beautiful at night the way they light them.”
The company is allowing more guests on-board but are still requiring masks.
Each day until St. Patrick’s Day, the Riverwalk Association will use about five gallons of emerald green dye to keep the water green for visitors to enjoy.