Are you a planner? You know, one of those who enters your commitments on your phone’s calendar as soon as you make them (or, if you’re like me, then you can’t let go of the paper-and-pen calendar because you still love writing things down just to check them off…). Planning keeps us organized and, when it comes to vacation, gives us something to look forward to! So if you have a trip to Savannah, Georgia on the horizon you might want to know what special events and festivals are coming up so you can plan ahead, right? Then you’re reading the right blog because we’re about to give you a month-by-month review of some of Savanah’s most popular, annual events worthy of a save the date in your schedule.
New Year’s Eve
Let’s kick off the year with a New Year’s celebration of historic proportions. Each year in Savannah there are three main celebratory events: River Street Fireworks, City Market Block Party and Tybee Island Fireworks. If you’re in the mood for a lively crowd, opt for the two downtown gatherings. For a more laidback vibe complete with the soothing sounds of crashing waves then pack up a towel or chair and make the short drive out to Tybee Island for an impressive fireworks display. Search any of those three venues online and you’ll soon have all the details you need.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade
The 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. parade will mark the 40th annual gathering honoring the late Dr. King’s legacy. Hundreds of entries from church groups, cars, marching bands, elected officials and more will all come together on the national day set aside to remember this incredible champion of civil rights. Visit mlksavannah.com for up-to-date information.
Georgia Historical Society Super Museum Sunday
Each year the Georgia Historical Society hosts Super Museum Sunday, held one Sunday in the month of February. From 12 pm to 4 pm on the designated day, historic sites, house museums, art museums and other points of interest in Savannah and throughout Georgia open their doors to the public free of charge! For the latest information on 2019’s super day just visit georgiahistory.com.
Savannah Book Festival
If meeting authors like Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, and James Patterson (just a few of the acclaimed authors who have appeared as keynote speakers for previous festivals) gets your pages turning, then you’ll definitely want to save the date for the Savannah Book Festival. This annual event spans four days and features the opportunity to hear from current literary stars and even get them to autograph your books. A mix of paid, ticketed events along with the free events of Festival Saturday have made this a sell-out several years running! Savannahbookfestival.org.
St. Patrick’s Day
Ready to go green? Savannah’s Irish Heritage has roots that run deep – and very, very green! Especially when it comes to the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities. Always held on March 17, Savannah proudly hosts the third-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the WORLD! You read right – third in the world. So plan ahead, bring a chair and your cooler and claim your space along the parade route that meanders throughout historic downtown. You’ll want to make your hotel reservations for this one well in advance as the city is known to book to capacity with honorary Irish from around the globe.
Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens
With the 84th annual Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens already scheduled for March 28-31, 2019, you can be sure this is one beautifully organized event! Covering a 2.5 square-mile area in what has been deemed the largest urban landmark historic district in the US, The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens gives visitors the rare chance to go beyond the front porch into the finest private homes in the city. You’ll need tickets to be part of this annual tour, which also features special events that are known to fill quickly, so be sure to visit savannahtourofhomes.org and reserve your spot early.
Savannah Music Festival
If you’re planning a trip to Savannah in 2019, then you can be part of the Tour of Homes and Gardens AND the Savannah Music Festival all in one visit! Celebrating its 30th season, the 2019 Savannah Music Festival will be held March 28 thru April 13 and is renowned for brining world-class musical arts to Savannah. From artists you know and love to up-and-coming artists who are sure to become favorites, The Savannah Music Festival celebrates all genres of music with performances held at various venues throughout downtown Savannah. Find out more and get your tickets by visiting savannahmusicfestival.org.
Savannah College of Art and Design Sidewalk Arts Festival
Each spring, the azalea blooms aren’t the only thing to color downtown Savannah. Entering its 38th year, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Sidewalk Arts Festival colors Forsyth Park – literally – as talented artists made up of SCAD students and alumni as well as area high school students put their creativity on display through colorful chalk art. Nearly every square inch of pavement that borders the park, as well as the walkways within its center, is transformed into a canvas grid for this beautiful tradition. Stay informed of the 2019 festival by visiting scad.edu.
Tybee Island Beach Bum Parade
This time of year, summer is so close you can feel it! And what better place to kick off the most laidback season of the year than at the beach! Each May, Tybee Island hosts this wet and wild parade that features colorful floats, marching bands and lots and lots of WATER! In fact the entire parade route turns into one big water fight so if you go, you might want to suit up first! The 2019 parade will mark Tybee’s 33rd annual super-soaker event that promises to be fun for the whole family. Find out more at tybeeisland.com.
SCAD Sand Arts Festival
Since we’re already in a beach frame of mind, let’s keep the good vibes going and spend a day on the shore at the SCAD Sand Arts Festival. Held on Tybee Island’s South Beach (by the Tybee pier), alumni, students, faculty and staff of SCAD will amaze you with their larger-than-life creations made entirely of sand! Bring your camera and visit scad.edu to make your plans.
River Street Seafood Festival
The good ‘ole summertime has officially arrived and at this point, I’ve either gotten back in to swimsuit shape or I’ve decided there’s always next year. Either way, I’m ready to eat! And if that sounds good to you then make your plans to attend the River Street Seafood Festival. Held each year in early June you’ll be able to make the most of the historic cobblestone streets, river vistas and fresh-caught seafood delights! Flip flops are recommended along with a big appetite for shrimp, crab, live entertainment and family-friendly fun. To check the dates of the next fest visit riverstreetsavannah.com.
4th of July
Beach? Check. Historic Riverfront? Check. Fireworks at your choice of both? Check and check! Savannah, Georgia knows how to celebrate July 4th – with a bang! Whether you choose to relax in the sand and watch the colorful pyrotechnics over the Atlantic or gather with a few thousand your closest friends surrounded by the excitement of River Street, this is one Independence Day celebration for the books! Check dates and times for both venues by visiting riverstreetsavannah.com and tybeeisland.com.
Take Your Pick!
August in Savannah offers plenty of things to do – like museum tours, farmers markets, first-Friday fireworks on River Street and of course, lots of sun and sand at the beach! Our best advice if you’re planning a trip in August is to contact specific venues you’re interested in and chances are you’ll have more than a few fun happenings to choose from!
Savannah Jazz Festival
Can’t you just feel it? Surrounded by the charms and history of old Savannah, you settle in for an evening of world-class jazz performances that transport you mind, body and spirit…now that’s a good night! What’s even better? This 37th annual event is FREE! Yes, free! The 2018 event is set for September 23-29 when renowned performers come to Savannah and perform at venues throughout the city with the final three nights taking place under the oaks in Forsyth Park. You definitely don’t want to miss this! Check the festivals website for updates on who will be attending and specific schedule details at savannahjazzfest.com.
Savannah Craft Brew Fest
Your Labor Day plans are officially made! The annual Savannah Craft Brew Fest will take place on Saturday, September 1, 2018 and is one amazing way to kick off your holiday weekend. This unique event is known for its two-ounce unlimited sampling of craft beers from around the world all paired with great food, music, a corn-hole tournament and more! So raise a glass and make your plans today (since pre-event ticket purchases are recommended). Visit savannahcraftbrewfest.com for all the info you need to know.
There are SO many things to do in Savannah in October that rather than break these out one by one, we thought we’d give you just enough to get those planning wheels turning! Choose from Picnic in the Park (symphony performance under a blanket of stars in Forsyth); Oktoberfest (Brats, sauerkraut and German fun for all!); Tybee Island Pirate Festival (a rollicking good time for captains and pint-sized mateys alike); Jewish Food Festival (better known as ‘Shalom Y’all’ this is an all-around delicious cultural celebration); and the Savannah Film Festival (when Savannah plays hosts to many A-list celebrities in recognition of the art of cinema). See what we mean? Knowing where to start is a big help; now all you need to do is little online searching and your October is looking good!
Savannah Food and Wine Festival
This weeklong celebration will give you reason to raise a glass (many glasses actually) at a variety of culinary-focused dining events, all with perfectly paired wines. But on one particular day, which, for the 2018 festival falls on Saturday, November 10, ‘the main event’ will be held giving you the rare opportunity to choose from hundreds of wines, spirits and craft beers along with a wide variety of cooking demonstrations, learning experiences and delectable dishes from Savannah’s best restaurants. (We highly recommend you get your tickets early as this event is known to be a sell out – savannahfoodandwinefest.com).
Rock n’ Roll Marathon
You know that feeling when you have your headphones on, your favorite heart-pumping jam blaring in your ears and you feel like you could run for miles? Well this is that feeling, only the music is LIVE and you’re surrounded by hundreds of other dedicated runners having one amazing time! In 2018, the event will be held November 3-4 and will feature a full marathon, half marathon, 5K, 1 mile and relay. The only thing better than the live music along the route is the beauty of the route itself, which winds through historic downtown and various points throughout the city. For registration and more information visit runrocknroll.com.
Christmas on the River
Kick off your holiday season December 7-9, 2018 as the Savannah Waterfront Association once again hosts its Christmas on the River festivities. Featuring arts and crafts, dance performances, live music and a lighted Christmas parade complete with the arrival of St. Nick, you’re certain to be in a holiday mood in no time!
Holiday Tour of Homes
Sometimes, the best decorating ideas come once you’ve seen how other homes do it. Of course, these aren’t just any homes! This is the Holiday Tour of Homes when some of downtown Savannah’s most magnificent residences open their doors and welcome you to take a peek inside. Sponsored by the Downtown Neighborhood Association, 2018 will mark the 44th year of this seasonal event with all proceeds from ticket sales going back to the community in the form of grants. For updates on specific dates of the 2018 event or for more details please visit dnaholidaytour.com.
If your calendar wasn’t full before, it will be once you’ve penciled in your favorite Savannah festivals for the year. And hey, don’t be shy! If you see something in March and November and February, well then, you’ll just have to come back again and again (and we really hope you do!). Happy planning!