City of Savannah ready for festivities

By Melanie Ruberti - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Preparations have been made for emergency crews and they now go into effect as crowds begin to pour into the city.

Kegs of beer flowed out of the back of beer trucks as barricades go up one by one along the sidewalks.

And of course, you can't forget those all important porta-potties being delivered along the cobblestones. River Street is now ready for St. Patrick's Day and so is Charles Johnson.

"I just wanted to come down here," he said." I just turned 21, so now we can get drunk."

Charles and thousands of his closest friends are in Savannah for the weekend for the biggest party of the year. Something Savannah-Chatham police have been planning months for.

"A lot of people think they can come down here, drink entirely too much and get away with it," said APO Gene Harley with the Savannah-Chatham police. "People think, 'Oh, it's St. Patrick's Day, police will give me a break' and that's just not the case."

In fact through Tuesday, more officers will be hitting the streets. It's just one way the city will handle the massive crowds expected to party along the river this weekend.

"I came out enjoy St. Patrick's Day," said Steve Digiantommaso. "I heard Savannah's got one of the biggest St. Patty's Day celebrations, so I wanted to see what it's all about."

Visitor Amanda Vtipil agreed.

"I'll just hang out with friends, go to as many places as we can, just have a good time," said Vtipil.

A good time that will be seen all the way on Chatham Parkway at CEMA's Emergency Operation Center.

"All the cameras that are in downtown, we can actually pull them up and see what's going on in downtown and all over Savannah. It's all the Savannah cameras," explained Dustin Hetzel, an emergency management specialist with Chatham Emergency Management.

The EOC will be running through St. Patrick's Day, giving officers and emergency personnel a bird's eye view of the festivity.

"You could be doing something and unbeknownst to you, we're watching you. At the same time, they're dispatching officers to you," said Harley.

Preparations that are all part of the festival and all in put in place so people will come back for another St. Patrick's Day in Savannah.

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