The city of Savannah is shaking up its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year.
The Georgian city, which holds the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US, will be hosting the parade on the Mar. 17 as usual but will also be holding a St Patrick’s Day festival the weekend before.
Savannah formerly ran the St. Patrick’s Day festival concurrently with the parade.
The city has been holding a St. Patrick’s Day festival for over 160,000 and the parade regularly draws more than 500,000 attendees.
Every year, the iconic fountain in Forsyth Park is dyed green in a similar, yet significantly smaller, tradition to the dyeing of the Chicago River.
The parade usually draws thousands of tourists to the city, but officials expect that the festival will draw more out of town visitors while the parade will primarily draw local families. The parade is scheduled to kick off at 10:15 a.m. come rain or shine.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Savannah police said that public safety at the festival was their top priority.
Police say that they will work closely with other authorities to enforce underage drinking laws and to ensure there is no trouble throughout the festival.
There will also be public safety corridors which bisect each square along the parade’s route. The corridors will allow police officers, emergency services, public sanitation workers and public works to move freely between different stages of the parade.
Authorities encouraged people planning to attend the parade to set up chairs as early as 6 p.m. on Mar. 16 but warned that chairs or other items that were chained to parking stations or signs would be removed.
Here’s some local news footage from the 2019 parade: