Courtesy of the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee
A photo from a past St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah.
Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and related festivities will be canceled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Van Johnson announced during a Jan. 5 press conference.
Johnson is recommending that the city continue its moratorium on permitting special events through the end of March, as the coronavirus pandemic is still posing the same challenges that caused the festival’s cancellation in 2020. Johnson said that he made this decision after observing unsafe behavior among crowds during Savannah’s holiday-season celebrations.
“I hoped and prayed that our situation might improve, but what I think is that what we’ve witnessed this holiday season will put the health of our city and our citizens at risk. Therefore, I am recommending that we continue our detouring on events issued by the city through the end of March 2021,” said Johnson.
John Fogarty, the general chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, issued a statement supporting the mayor’s decision.
“We understand that the City of Savannah is not issuing any special event permits through March 2021. As a result, we will not have the 2021 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade. While this is disappointing, we are confident in the City’s decision. Our top priority has always been to ensure the health, safety and welfare of parade participants and attendees,” said Fogarty.
Due to the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, the St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled last year on March 11, just as celebrations were beginning for the March 17 holiday celebrating Irish traditions.
“After the 2020 parade cancellation, we were hopeful for 2021 and we had applied for the special event permit. Over the past several months we have continued to work with the City of Savannah during the permitting process and now we need to be united in doing what is best for our community,” said Fogarty.
“Since the first Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1824, there have been extraordinary times when we had to cancel the parade, and this is unfortunately one of those times. Going forward, we commit to keep you aware of our future plans and we appreciate the community’s understanding and support,” Fogarty added.