Downtown businesses prepare for St. Patrick's Day festivities - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Downtown businesses prepare for St. Patrick's Day celebration

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It is the calm before the storm as many business owners are calling it. Thursday night was peaceful on River Street as the tents were being set up for a busy weekend.

"The mood is great. Everyone is happy. It is festive getting ready for the weekend St. Patrick's Day fun," said Andrea McGuire, visitor.

Many hoping to avoid the large crowds over the St. Patrick's Day weekend ventured down to River Street Thursday night to see what was in store.

"There are a lot of great people and the bands are playing. The smell of food is in the air. It is awesome," said Annaluci Reives, visitor.

But some businesses were hoping for a bigger turnout.

"We did expect a little bit better. It was a little cooler than we expected it would be but we really thought we would get more business tonight. We are dealing with what we got and looking forward to tomorrow," said Fred Plantadis, Tubby's Seafood general manager.

Other businesses like Olympia Cafe are using the night to prepare for the larger crowds.

"Preparing to put a cooler and legs. We took all the tables and chairs and have a counter set up for young ladies to sell beer," said Nicholas Pappas, Olympia Cafe.

Pappas and Straton Leopold believe this is going to be the largest St. Patrick's Day the city has ever seen.

"Every year for the last 33 years it gets bigger and better," said Pappas.

There is one big difference this year, the use of wristbands in the downtown area to help control the crowds.

"I think it is a good thing, the expanded area for everybody. Everyone can spread out a bit. But we have our kids and we won't be down for that part," said McGuire.

"People come prepared to have a good time and it is a nominal sum. It doesn't affect us," said Leopold.

"I don't think it is going to affect anybody," said Pappas.

There will be 22 locations set up around the downtown area where folks can purchase the wristbands. Officials will also be walking around and selling the wristbands.

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