Old Savannah ToursOld Savannah Tours

by Lucas Renfroe

Your Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade Guide

 

There is no greater event in Savannah than St. Patrick’s Day, y’all. This year marks the 196th anniversary of the annual parade, which draws a roughly half-a-million-people-sized crowd from around the world to celebrate all things Irish. The streets will overflow with green and the sound of traditional Irish music and bagpipes will ring throughout the city.

Did you know that Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the second largest in the nation, behind New York City’s? (But we think it’s safe to say that our party is a lot more fun.)

 

Day 1: Friday, March 13

On your first day in Savannah, we recommend taking some time to wander and get lost in the city. The party has already started, but you should start in Forsyth Park at our city’s famous fountain that was dyed green for the occasion. (The St. Patrick’s Day festivities actually begin the week before when all of Savannah’s fountains are dyed green, starting with our favorite fountain in Forsyth.) If you can handle the hike, walk from Forsyth Park (after snapping a few photos of and with the beautifully festive fountain) through the quaint streets of the Historic District, heading towards City Market and Ellis Square.

When you start getting close, you’ll probably be able to hear the fun before you really start to see it. The Festival of St. Patrick is an all-weekend event, so we suggest you pace yourselves by spending the evening sampling food and drinks while listening to the live music from the two stages set up in City Market. The festival starts at 6 p.m. on Friday and runs until midnight.

 

photo credit: Visit Tybee

Day 2: Saturday, March 14

Saturday should be a day of all things Tybee Island. The 18th Annual Tybee Island Irish Heritage Parade starts at 3 p.m. and decks the island in green. Join the locals in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day the Tybee way with a family-friendly parade filled with fun floats, bands, and marchers. The parade starts at City Hall and proceeds down Butler Avenue.

Whether you’ve opted for a stay on Tybee or have found a hotel in Savannah, it’s always a good idea to utilize alternative forms of transportation during a busy holiday. Old Savannah Tours has taken the guess work out of figuring out how you’re going to safely get from Point A to Point B. We’ll be offering trolley shuttles that will go from Tybee Island (the lighthouse, Hotel Tybee, and the River’s End Campground) to Downtown Savannah on Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday. Rather than spending your savings on securing an Uber, pay $20 round trip (or $15 for one-way).  

The trolley shuttle will be running Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight, and Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

photo credit: Lucky Savannah Vacation Rentals

Day 3: Sunday, March 15

Start your day off with brunch. That’s always a solid Sunday morning move: grits with cheddar cheese, bacon, and eggs and maybe a biscuit (or two). Or maybe you’re a pancake kind of person? Either way, Savannahians love their brunch as much as any other, so do your research, pick your spot, and definitely make a reservation.

Once you’ve filled up and are ready for the day, we suggest heading to River Street. The Festival of St. Patrick will still be in full swing, but now you’ll be able to experience all that River Street has to offer, which is three stages, more food, more drinks, more activities, and the iconic cobblestone streets. Whether you want to lounge and listen to music with a drink in your hand or walk the length of River Street to check out all the shops, River Street Marketplace, and famous candy stores. The festival will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

 

Day 4: Monday, March 16

Take a breather from the party on Monday by enjoying a hop on/hop off trolley ride around the city. Old Savannah Tour’s Historic On/Off Tours begin daily at 9 a.m. and continually depart every 15-20 minutes until around 5 p.m. (Please call for more specific departure times and to make a reservation, especially during this busy time!) If you opt for enjoying the entire trolley tour in a single sitting, the ride usually runs about an hour and a half. Guests can also extend their Savannah tour into an all-day event. Hop off at the sites and locations when you want to take a closer look or do some exploring, and then hop back on and continue the tour!

If you’d like to take a peek back into the early 1800s and see how Savannahians celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, then check out the Celtic Cross Procession and Ceremony from 1 to 2 p.m. The parade, which honors the city’s Irish lineage, begins at the St. John’s Cathedral and goes to Emmet Park.

After your eyes have seen all the beautiful history and memorials, squares and looming live oaks, attend the Sgt. William Jasper Memorial Procession and Ceremony. This annual event (always held on the eve of the parade) honors our armed force members—past and present. Sgt. William Jasper was a Revolutionary War hero who perished while trying to rescue his regiment’s colors during the Siege of Savannah in 1779. His monument, erected in 1888, stands in Madison Square. The procession starts at 4PM in Johnson Square, traveling south on Bull Street, and ending up in Madison Square, where the ceremony will start at 4:30 p.m. (and run until 5:30).

 

Day 5: Tuesday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day begins with the Mass of the Feast of St. Patrick at the Cathedral at 8 a.m. sharp. Then, at precisely 10:15 (rain or shine), the magic happens: The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade begins. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all weekend! The parade starts on the corner of Abercorn and Gwinnett Streets and winds its way through the Historic District, ending up at Madison Square. Be sure to do your research, wear comfortable clothing, plan your perfect spot, pack some snacks and food, and settle into watching one of the most historic and legendary St. Patrick’s Day Parades in our beautiful city!

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Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Guide