Tim's Take: St. Patrick's Day Parade - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: St. Patrick's Day Parade

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The controversies once again were as fleeting as they were predictable, the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee smoothing bumps in the plan as surely as they were to arise.

"We're all here,'' said Parade Committee chairman Brendan Sheehan, "to have a good time.''

And that, in a way, was behind some of the decisions this year to step back Savannah's signature event in size in order to keep moving forward in stature.

Any time the St. Patrick's Day Parade is on a Saturday, it tends to swell, on and around the route. Last year bordered on unwieldy with 360 units taking four hours to make it around the Historic District and crowds congested downtown, even if it wasn't the million people predicted.

"I think it's also important that people understand,'' said Lieutenant David Gay, of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, "that the city recognizes that it has a responsibility that if we're going to host this festival, we can't necessarily do things the way we normally do.''

So the choice to make the parade smaller and shorter was as wise a one, moving the focus from what it  could be to what it's always been.

"It's fun,'' said 2013 parade grand marshal Jimmy Ray. "But remember what it's all about, the patron Saint Patrick.''

And, in Savannah, the day is also about family, the groups that gather and march together every year, pausing every few steps to greet someone else they know.

And it's about faith, the mass that starts the day and the grand marshal's blessing that's such an integral part of it.

Mostly, it's about who you share it all with, those close to you or just close by for a few hours.

"Just be patient,'' advised Sheehan. "Have a good time, get your spot in the park, but be nice to everybody who comes. Everybody's here to have a good time.''

On a day like tomorrow, how could we not.

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