Channelside will see green on St. Patrick's Day when tourism officials dye the Garrison Channel a bright shade of leprechaun.
The Tampa Attractions Association is turning the water green in front of Channelside's wharf as part of its St. Patty's Day party Wednesday.
Troy Manthey, the association's president and founder who also runs the Yacht StarShip cruises, came up with the idea after living in Chicago, where the river is dyed every year as part of the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"I saw what a big celebration it was there," he said. "I wanted to do it here."
The association tested the dye last year but didn't widely publicize the event in case the dye didn't work. When it did, organizers decided to expand the event this year and invite the Rough Riders.
About 100 members of the krewe will pour dye from a barge towing the Rough Riders' Teddy Roosevelt float. They'll throw beads to people on the wharf, which will be open during the event.
"This makes a real statement about Tampa celebrating its quasi-Irish heritage," said Bill Hogan, the Rough Riders' event coordinator. "I'm Irish, and I'm all over it."
Organizers hope dyeing the channel becomes an annual event, much like it has in Chicago, where the tradition began more than 40 years ago.
The powdered dye is biodegradable and has no known harmful effects on fish and wildlife. The 10 pounds of dye is expected to dissipate after just a few hours.
Florida Aquarium officials said the water-tracing dye is often used to detect leaks and map water flows. It left no green residue or dead fish last year.
"The water in the channel is the not the cleanest," said aquarium spokesman Tom Wagner. "Between all the big boats and industry that's going on there, this is very mild."
The dyeing starts at 6 p.m., followed by a party at Channelside Bay Plaza with live music in the courtyard and a post-party with the Rough Riders at Stumps Supper Club. The Yacht StarShip is having a St. Patty's Day cruise with green beer, corned beef and cabbage.