SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It’s almost that time of the year where the City of Savannah gets decked out in the color green.
The countdown to St. Patrick’s Day and all the festivities around it is officially on.
The city held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the upcoming holiday.
As with years past, there will be an all-hands-on-deck police and emergency personnel presence during the festival.
“There is a security plan in place to address emergency situations, and officers will be highly visible in the festival area and throughout the jurisdiction," said Sgt. Dana Purvis, Savannah Police Department.
While the official Saint Patrick’s Day Festival is Friday and Saturday this year, the city will be prepared for big crowds to still be around on Sunday.
“A lot of people coming in from out of town may think we’re actually going to celebrate on the Sunday, but we’re not. We’re celebrating on the Saturday,” said Susan Broker, City of Savannah.
Broker is the director of the city’s Office of Special Events, Film, and Tourism. She says one of the things the city’s changed this year is a new focus cracking down on litter, underage drinking, and public intoxication.
“We want to convey to our residents and to our visitors that Saint Patrick’s Day is a great time. Come here, have fun, be safe, but follow the laws," she said.
This year, a mobile Recorder’s Court will be stationed on the west side of Chippewa Square, and Broker says more city marshals will be on-hand helping with code compliance issues so police and emergency personnel can focus their attention elsewhere.
“We’re not hoping to cite a lot of people. We’re not hoping to get a lot of people to go into the court system. We’re hoping that it will serve as a deterrent,” Broker said.
There will also be no tables, tents, or styrofoam coolers allowed in Chippewa Square this year.
Licensed taxi, Uber and Lyft drives will have a drop off and pick up location on Indian Street between MLK and Fahm Streets. Motor coaches will also use that area.
Another change this year will be to garages. $20 Garage passes can be used for any city garage you can get into.
The city does want you to take note that if you park in garages near the parade route, you may have to stay a little longer.
“By this point we have veterans who park in Bryan, State and Whitaker garages, but if you have never parked in those garages before, please understand once you park there parade day Saturday you will not be let out of that garage until the parade course is clear,” said Sean Brandon, Mobility and Parking Services Director.
Chatham Area Transit will be running a fixed route on Friday and Saturday for free. Parking meters will be enforced on Friday but not on Saturday.