Tampa held the River O’ Green festival on March 17, 2023. (Smith Cassidy/Achona Online (Made with Piktochart))
Tampa held the River O’ Green festival on March 17, 2023.

Smith Cassidy/Achona Online (Made with Piktochart)

Tampa holds annual River O’Green Festival

March 23, 2023

The annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was once again honored at Curtis Hixon in Tampa. This past Friday, the River O’Green fest occurred in the afternoon when Mayor Jane Castor initiated the crew to begin dyeing the Hillsborough River green. Many people in the community spoke out about the dangers of this annual festival, but once again the city of Tampa combated those fears by insisting that the green dye is entirely safe. 

Recently, a petition had been filed by many people of Tampa to end the tradition of the River O’Green festival, under the belief that the dye is harmful to the city of Tampa and should not be permitted for use. The festival includes dyeing the entire Hillsborough River green, with countless buckets full of unnamed and unknown green dye. 

“I think it is a neat tradition to do annually in Tampa, but I do think Chicago does it best”, said Adele Politz (’23).

Weeks ago, the city of Tampa officials ran a test to confirm that the green dye being used for the festival was entirely safe for the Hillsborough River. The city stated in a public announcement that the dye that was being used is “safe, non-toxic, biodegradable, meets all EPA standards, and is certified to comply with National Sanitation Foundation Standard 60.” They also described how this type of dye is very sanitary as it is the same kind that is used for eye surgeries, and also food and water systems. 

“I think dying the Hillsborough River green is a very fun way for Tampa to celebrate St. Patrick’s day! It brings in tourism for the city and brings people to the businesses surrounding the river, so I think it greatly benefits the city of Tampa”, said Sophie Odmark (’23). 

After this test was conducted, the people of Tampa definitely felt more comfortable with allowing the festival to continue to reign. Many still believe that the dyeing of the river is definitely not necessary, and there are many other ways to be festive for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Tampa hosted the river O’Green festival on St. Patrick’s Day, and it was quite a success. Everyone in the streets of downtown Tampa was decked out in green outfits and accessories, and the live music was heard all the way from across the green river. The turnout was very expected, as this festival is one of the mayor’s biggest supporters and is very popular for the City of Tampa’s agenda. 


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As for next year, the question of whether or not the green dye is environmentally safe or not will most likely arise once again. Even though the mayor and many other city officials continue to reinforce that the dye is completely harmless to the Hillsborough River, many people still doubt it. Dyeing an entire river green may not feel right to many people, but it still continues to bring the community joy and give them a fun time on St. Patrick’s Day, as it has for 13 years. 

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