City of Savannah discusses St. Patrick's Day Festival, readies f - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City of Savannah discusses St. Patrick's Day Festival, readies for next year

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The City of Savannah is looking back on this past St. Patrick's Day Festival and ahead to next year.

It cost the city more than $630,000 to put on the huge four day party, with just about $500,000 of that cost going toward police overtime with another small chunk devoted to cleaning up the mess each night and after the parade.

"The reality is we are hosting a party, and when you host a party, there are costs involved with hosting that party," said Savannah City Councilmember Van Johnson. "Our residents enjoy hosting that party and there are expenses."

The city expects to make those costs back on the revenue end of things, but they also are looking at what worked and what didn't. They called the festival this year a success even though wristband sales were slow due to the weather on two of the days.

Looking ahead to next year, council members are asking city staff to look at ways to better manage the squares, monitor underage drinking and the new gun laws which went into effect July 1.

They also know next year's festival will be a mid-week, two day festival, which means less expenses and less revenue.

"We know whenever St. Patrick's Day is held in the middle of the week," said Mayor Edna Jackson. "The revenue stream is not going to be as great as when we are dealing with the weekend. Our employees did a fantastic job, and now we are looking forward to next year."

Next year, the festival will be Monday, March 16 and parade day will be on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. One trend the city did highlight from the report was more people gathered in City Market and Ellis Square than on River Street this past year.

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