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St. Patrick’s FAQs  

Frequently Asked Questions about Savannah’s favorite celebration, updated for 2019

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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. In Ireland, Paddy, not Patty, is the nickname for Patrick, i.e. Padraig.

(Though “Paddy” is often used as a derogatory term for the Irish.)

Just a reminder: Though St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, our parade this year is on Saturday, March 16. We don’t hold the parade on Sundays.

Sooooo in Savannah you can just walk around with a drink? 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 in this Festival Area on March 15 and March 16.

"Festival Area," what is it tho?

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 16, 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. You also don’t need a wristband to drink inside a bar or restaurant.

Ten bucks? 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.”

Are the bars closed on Sunday?

NOT this Sunday. The City of Savannah is allowed one day a year to exempt local bars that don’t serve food from closing on Sundays. This year bars which don’t offer food service, or make less than 50 percent of their revenue from food, WILL be allowed to open on Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, if they choose to do so.

Everybody says Savannah is super chill about underage drinking, that true?

YES AND NO. It’s as illegal here as anywhere else. Local police confiscate about 100 fake IDs a year during St. Patrick’s Day, and promise even more of a ramped-up effort to bust underage drinkers, including the use of plainclothes officers.

If your bartender asks to see your ID, don’t give them a hard time about it. They are trying to keep their job, keep from getting busted, and keep the place in business.

Y’all just legalized weed in the SAV, right?

NOT exactly. Penalties for being caught with an ounce or less of pot are reduced to a $150 fine and no arrest or jail time. HOWEVER that is only in City of Savannah limits. That should cover you for most of the celebration, unless you go to Tybee Island or anywhere outside Savannah proper.

Complicating things is the fact that our Sheriff says his deputies will arrest anyone they catch smoking weed regardless of what the City's rules are. So bottom line: Keep being careful out there .

What if I get busted for breaking any of your dumb rules?

FOR non-violent infractions, we have something new this year: A pop-up Recorder’s Court in Chippewa Square, in the middle of the whole celebration.

If you’re busted for underage drinking, public indecency (i.e. peeing in public), or things of that nature, you’ll be taken in front of a judge right there, and given an opportunity to pay your fine and settle the case. Otherwise, you have to be back in Savannah in the middle of April.

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 6 a.m. Saturday morning. 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!

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

We can tailgate in the parking garage right?

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

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

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

Do you have Uber down there? I read something on Huffington Post that said Southerners don’t even wear shoes.

YES we have Uber 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.

Where all my scooters at?

NOT here. Savannah has banned the electric scooters like Bird and Lime that have popped up in many other cities. The great news is that Savannah is very walkable and that’s the best way to enjoy St. Patrick’s shenanigans here.

Our dog will 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 loves small children, don’t worry.

NOT actually questions. But no, pets 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.

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.

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.

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 @savpolice

Our Twitter and Insta handle is: @connectsavannah

But just as you don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive either! It’s illegal in Georgia.

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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Connect Today 05.26.2019

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