True story: I was born on St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah and my mom actually went to the parade THAT morning. Her doctor delivered me in his tuxedo around 10 pm having come straight from the annual Hibernian Society dinner (Savannah’s oldest Irish society and originators of the parade). In case you hadn’t guessed, in Savannah, we really, really love St. Patrick’s Day. So, if you haven’t taken part in Savannah’s Irish festivities yet, it begs the question: what are you waiting for? It is, officially, the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world (did you see that, the world!). Now I realize I’m partial but there is absolutely nothing more invigorating than a spring morning in historic downtown Savannah, surrounded by honorary Irish who create a sea of green-wearing spectators. You’ve really just gotta try it!
So, to help you kick up your leprechaun heels and head to the parade, we thought we’d provide some fun tidbits of information to debunk the most common myths surrounding the festivities and tell you what you really need to know about St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Erin go bragh!
Myth #1: You have to book your hotel room WELL in advance.
This is soooo not true. Granted, the early bird does get the worm. Or in this case, a larger availability of rooms at early-bird rates. But you can still get a room for St. Patrick’s Day even as late as the day of. “The best rates are found about 6-8 months before the event,” explained Stacy Sturgis, director of sales for Stay in Savannah. “Our DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Quality Inn are all within walking distance of the parade route and festival zones.” Hoping for something a bit more removed and family friendly? Stacy recommends the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Savannah’s midtown as the perfect location.
Myth #2: St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is really only for the party crowd.
There’s no doubt that throughout the days preceding St. Patrick’s Day, the party atmosphere can reach amazing heights – but that’s not the whole story. “There are two sides to the leprechaun’s gold coin when it comes to the festivities: the parade and the nightlife,” Sturgis told us. “The parade is family friendly. Locals and tourists of all ages set up along the route and in the squares to watch. Once the sun goes down, the adults-only party begins on River Street and in the other festival zones.” So whether you want family friendly or a little more loud and crazy, there’s definitely something for everyone to enjoy in Savannah.
Myth #3: They dye the Savannah River green.
“You know, they tried to do that once years ago and it was a total failure,” laughed Lawrence “Bubba” Edgerly, the 2019 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Vice Chairman. “The good news is, the water is already naturally green – so it works!” The city does dye the famous fountain in Forsyth Park green each year – and for 2019 that ‘greening’ takes place on Friday, March 8 starting at 12 noon.
Myth #4: There’s nowhere to sit at the parade.
Bleachers anyone? The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee works with Kelly Tours to provide bleachers throughout the parade route. You can buy individual seats on those bleachers or corporate seating for up to 50 people. “There’s plenty of room on the bleachers still,” said Edgerly, “and you can always come early, bring your own chairs and set up on the curb all along the parade route.” The squares in downtown open for spectators starting at 6 am on the day of the parade and the best spots are often occupied early, so if ‘early’ isn’t your cup of tea, be sure to check out the bleachers for a prime spot: http://savannahsaintpatricksday.com/bleachers.
Myth #5: You have to be Irish to attend.
Seriously? Come on. You didn’t really think that, right? All you need to be part of St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is something green to wear (it’s not required, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did), some good walking shoes, and maybe a little bit of an adventurous spirit to branch out and try green grits to start your day (they’re delicious!). Take it from Edgerly: “Chill and have fun,” he says with a brightness to his voice. “It’s a family day, so bring your chairs and get ready to enjoy a beautiful parade.”