Huge crowd gathers for Greening of the Fountain - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Huge crowd gathers for Greening of the Fountain

Hayden Howze and grand marshal Denny Herb poured the first bit of dye into the fountain. Hayden Howze and grand marshal Denny Herb poured the first bit of dye into the fountain.

By Michelle Paynter - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Greening of the Fountain in Forsyth Park is always one of the most popular St. Patrick's Day events in Savannah.

The sun may not have been shining, but Irish eyes were smiling along with non-Irish eyes, as the water went green.

Hundreds of people anxiously awaited around the fountain at noon on Friday.

Both young and old came from near and far to take part in this Savannah St. Patrick's Day tradition.

Susan Smith drove down from Springfield, Georgia. "It's just so much fun, it's a great place to be," she said.

Henry Oliver and his wife Sylvia are in town from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania visiting their daughter.

"We wanted to make sure we see this before we went home, they say its a great thing."

It was a great honor for Denny Herb. "I applaud all of you Irishmen for having me as the grand marshal," said Herb.

Herb was accompanied by WTOC's coloring contest winner Hayden Howze, a fifth grader at Chatham Academy. Together, they poured the first bit of dye into the fountain.

"It was pretty cool," said Hayden.

And within a couple of minutes, the fountain was spouting green.

"It's turning green," said Amari Fisher, a student at Notre Dame Academy.

"It felt wonderful," said Herb. "They do a great job with this greening of the fountain, it seems to grow every year and get bigger and better."

There were so many young faces in the crowd, fitting since the grand marshal's motto for this year is faith, family and friends.

"It's so great to see the families out here with their small children, it doesn't get any better than that, it felt wonderful," Herb said.

A wonderful way to kick off St. Patrick's Day in Savannah.

The Greening of the Fountains is a tradition that goes back about 60 years.

Some hooligans threw green dye into the Forsyth Park fountain and it stained the fountain, so a city employee and Irishman, Billy Forgarty, said if you can't beat them join them.

He found a die that would not hurt the fountains and thus a tradition began.

A couple of years after they started dying the fountains green, in 1962, they tried to die the Savannah River green, but it didn't work. The river is too deep and its current is too swift.

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