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St. Patrick's Day FAQs 

Frequently Asked Questions about Savannah’s favorite celebration

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOHN ALEXANDER
  • Photo by John Alexander

1. St. Patty's Day in the SAV is lit, fam! Amirite?

YEAH it's lit. But if you insist on abbreviating it, "St. Paddy's Day" is actually correct. Though "Paddy" is often a derogatory term for the Irish, not to mention pretty disrespectful to a saint.


2. Cool story, Broseph. So we hear that in Savannah you can just walk around and get your drink on? Southerners are crazy, smdh.

MAYBE we are crazy. But we don't consider to-go cups crazy.

Savannah’s to-go cup tradition is one of the most enlightened things about our fair city, an admirable legacy of the days when Americans were trusted to be capable, competent citizens responsible for their own decisions.

Anyone over 21 can enjoy an alcoholic drink in public areas throughout most of downtown north of Jones Street. To-go cups must be paper, plastic or styrofoam, and 16 ounces or less. No other alcoholic containers are allowed, cans or bottles.

But you guessed it: There are special rules on to-go cups just for this Festival and for this Festival Area.


3. That “Festival Area” tho. What is it IRL?

HERE’S the deal: For this two-day “Festival Period” from Friday-Saturday, the rules change in the “Festival Area,” aka “The Control Zone.”

To use to-go cups between River Street to the north, East Broad on the east, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the west, and to the south from Broughton Lane to Drayton, where it moves north to Bay Lane, you must buy a wristband at $10 a day.

The cost of the wristbands goes to pay bands and pay for cleanup and other things which make our fine Festival possible.

Wristbands needed Fri. 10 a.m.-midnight and Saturday, March 17, post-parade until midnight.

Note you don’t need a wristband during the parade proper on Saturday morning/early afternoon, and none at all on Sunday.


4. Ten bucks a day to drink? Nah, we’ll just get turnt inside my car. That’s my “Festival Area,” lol.

NO. That’s more accurately described as the “DUI Area.”


5. So the Vice President dude is gonna be there too?

YES, Vice President Mike Pence will be in attendance this year. There will be an "Enhanced Security Zone" in effect for the area around Johnson and Wright Squares, bounded by Bay Street to the north, Oglethorpe to the south, Drayton to the east, and Whitaker to the west. There will be multiple Secret Service checkpoints to get in, and you can ONLY enter from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Saturday morning. The security protocol is expected to last until about 1 p.m.

There is a long, long list of things you can't bring in. Check out our comprehensive story here. Basically imagine you're getting on a plane, only without carry-on bags.


6. Does that mean we can't drink in that Zone thing?

YES, you can drink alcohol within the Enhanced Security Zone. You just can't bring in your own, in a cooler or a to-go cup or any other way. You can purchase food and drink and enjoy it within the Zone, including using to-go cups.


7. Yeah but otherwise everybody says Savannah is super chill about underage drinking, is that true?

YES AND NO. It’s as illegal here as anywhere else. Local police confiscated about 80 fake IDs during last year’s celebration and promise even more of a ramped-up effort to bust underage drinkers, including the use of plainclothes officers.


8. Yeah but y’all just legalized weed in the SAV, right?

NO, we didn’t exactly legalize it. Beginning July 1 — which comes after St. Patrick’s Day, Einstein — penalties for being caught with an ounce or less of pot will be reduced to a $150 fine and no arrest or jail time. However, the new city ordinance will NOT be in effect for this year's celebration in any case.


9. YASSS! Scored a parking spot on the parade route! We'll just take this yellow bag off the meter, the one that says "No Parking." No one will know, right?

NO one except the police and the tow truck driver. You can't park on the parade route, dummy!

Towing begins very early the morning of St. Patrick’s Day. Owners of towed cars must get a release form from police HQ at Habersham and Oglethorpe.

And then you’ll be dealing with a tow company the rest of your St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Good luck!


10. OK how about other street parking?

SATURDAY, March 17, parking is prohibited on the parade route and in the marshaling areas. Savannah Police will tow vehicles parked in the prohibited zones and parade route beginning 6am on Saturday, March 17.

Meters & Time Zones WILL be enforced Friday, but NOT Saturday/Sunday.


11. What about parking garages? We can party our ass off in the garage right?

NOPE, tailgating from vehicles & loitering in the garage is prohibited, but the City strongly encourages use of our many fine garages.

Bryan Street Garage, State Street Garage, Liberty Street Garage, the Robinson Garage, Visitors Center Lot, and the Whitaker Street Garage underneath Ellis Square will be open to the public during the festival for $20 a day Friday and Saturday, and $10 Sunday.

The Civic Center Parking Lot is closed for the duration of the festival.

Vehicles parking in the garages will not be allowed to exit until after the parade ends. Be ready to wait.


12. How about Uber? Up here where we’re from somebody told me you shoeless rednecks down there never heard of it.

YES we have Uber and yes we have heard of it and yes we wear shoes. We even have electricity now. There will be designated Uber/Lyft/rideshare dropoff/pickup points at the west end of the Festival Zone on Indian Street and the east end at Rossiter Park.


13. Our rescue pit bull is gonna love the parade. We had the really unique idea to put a green bandana on him. We're positive no one else will think of doing that on St. Patrick's Day. Also, we'll let him go off-leash in crowds. He really loves small children, don't worry.

NOT actually questions. But no, dogs aren't allowed in the Festival Area. The only exceptions are service dogs and residents walking their own dogs, and those absolutely must be on leashes.


14. We hear the soldiers marching in the parade are real cute. We might kiss some. Has anybody done that before?

YES, and please don't. Over the years it has become quite a tradition to kiss marching soldiers, a tradition which started with kissing the cadets of the Benedictine Military School who also march in the parade.

However, the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division, which will have units in the parade as usual this year, has requested that people refrain from the practice.

So keep your lipstick and your germs to yourself and respect the personal boundaries of our professional fighting men and women.


15. Just a harmless peck on the cheek? Come on.

NO MEANS NO.


16. Oh well. Hey, I gotta pee. Any porta–potties in this town?

WE will have what’s called in the business a Crap Ton of portable toilets. Most are along the route itself or nearby adjacent squares. Bull Street, Abercorn Street, and Bay Street are your best bets. River Street will have nearly 100 from one end to the other, and City Market will have about 20.

The City of Savannah has public restrooms at Ellis Square. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday, 6 a.m.-midnight Saint Patrick’s Day, and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.


17. No worries, I’ll just whip it out right here. Pee selfie!

NO! Please refrain from relieving yourself al fresco—public urination is the single most “popular” reason to get arrested on St. Patrick’s Day here.


18. What are the best feeds to follow for breaking news? Holla at ya boy.

THE City of Savannah is tweeting breaking festival updates at @savstpat

Savannah PD tweets at @scmpdmedia

Our Twitter and Insta handle is: @connectsavannah

But just as you don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive either! 

cs
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About The Author

Jim Morekis

Jim Morekis

Bio:
A native Savannahian, Jim has been editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah for 15 years. The University of Georgia graduate is also a travel writer, authoring regional guides in the Moon handbook series... more

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