Getting ready for dash to square

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -  The parade is still a day away, but already people stacking out their turf.

They're not allowed in the squares until 6 am Tuesday, but they can sit in their vehicles outside the square waiting.

Rick Parrish of Statesboro is doing just that.

He knows exactly how tomorrow will go down that's why he got to Lafayette Square at 4 am.

He there to stake out the turf for eight other families along with his, but in order to pull get the spot he wants takes the full cooperation from all the families.

Six weeks ago he started planning, calling the families and getting organized.  Parrish explains the questions he asked, "When can anybody be down here, how many teenage boys do we have as runners to do the back, who can jump the barricades. We keep the same plan just bring in the young blood."

You may think this is extreme, but judging from everyone saw last year, it's not. "Within three minutes ya'll watched as we staked out the entire area," said Parrish about WTOC covering the mad dash to the squares last year.

Claiming what Parrish says is theirs. They've been in this spot for 33 years now. They always got it because they were the first ones here, and Monday was no different Parrish arrived at 4 am.

It used to be he just walked in the square and claimed his turf, but not now.

Last year, the city decided to change the rules and keep people out until the morning of the parade, like many Parrish hated the change,

"It used to be we'd come down the night before and set up a canopy, and a couple of tables. We would have twenty to thirty people getting together for dinner with drinks, reminiscing about everything that's gone on over the past year."

Friends they only see once a year, during this festival.

The other problem: the barricades. Parrish says every year his friend Beverly Kehayes likes to run out and give people beads as they go past in the parade.   The rules are that people stay behind the barricades now.

She didn't follow the rules last year. "I almost got arrested last year. I've been doing this for over 20 years and last year was the closest I came to be arrested," said Beverly Kehayes.

And she doesn't plan on following this year.

Some traditions may be getting lost, but one thing Parrish says he won't lose his spot. He's been called the Godfather of Lafayette Square, and his friends say no one will take it from him.

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