St. Patrick's Day parade preps underway in Downtown Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

St. Patrick's Day parade preps underway in Downtown Savannah

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Savannah is getting ready for its biggest party of the year: St. Patrick's Day.

One of many tasks handled by the Savannah Bureau of Leisure Services this time of year is coordinating with the company that provides the portable bathrooms all around the festival zone and parade route

The St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors for the three day event. And at least some of those folks are going to need to use a bathroom while in areas that might not have them available to the public.

So the City of Savannah contracts a company out of Jacksonville, FL to bring in more than 400 portable bathrooms to set up all around downtown.

While some are still sitting on a city-owned lot for the time being, you'll start seeing the banks of bathrooms starting to pop up around the popular tourist destinations as early as Monday.?

“Unfortunately, this year it all starts on the first day. And so, when we get there and everybody gets down there to get the squares at 6 o'clock in the morning, we have to have all 413 ready to go. So we'll probably start seeing some in certain locations as early as Monday. And then he'll start gearing up hard on Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Chris Foran, Savannah Bureau of Leisure Services.

Foran, who's the cousin of this year’s parade Grand Marshal Mike Foran, says crews will be keeping an eye on which bathrooms are getting the most traffic, and where the portable units can be placed to better service all of the city's visitors.

It will be all hands on deck for Savannah-Chatham Metro and other area law enforcement agencies as we head into the St. Patrick's Day festivities in Savannah. That means there will be a very visible police presence, from mounted patrols to officers on foot.

Police officials emphasize that they want visitors to the city to have a good time during the St. Patrick's Festival, and also a safe time.

That means officers will be keeping an eye on regulating the festival zone, and everything that goes on within it, including alcohol regulation and items that people bring downtown. WTOC did ask how the department works to acclimate new officers, which as we know, the department has added a good number of since last Saint Patrick's Day.

"Because St. Patrick's Day is ever evolving, and just like there are new people coming into the city, we always have new officers that are coming onto the department. And we try to integrate those newer officers into positions with more experienced officers, so that they can get the feeling of what Saint Patrick's Day is. A lot of times, they will start off on the parade. The parade is an area where it's easy to man a certain post and patrol you're certain part of it,” said Sgt. Eddie Grant, SCMPD.

One of the things officers are doing now with the help of other city agencies, are putting up flyers on the windshields of vehicles parked along the parade route. If you have one of these, heed the warning to avoid an expensive trip to the impound lot.

{Click here: 2016 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade route and road closures map}

WTOC caught up with Tim's Towing and Recovery, which is one of around 15 local companies that work to clear the parade route.  They say if you think you normally park your vehicle along the parade route, or in a staging area, there's a chance you might not see the warning fliers. 

"There is a lot of ground to cover, and a limited amount of resources, meaning people, that can actually go out there and do that. So, if you don't see the flag or the markers, don't assume that you're safe. Check the parade route, if you've lived here, use your head,” said Adam Avant, Tim’s Towing and Recovery.

If you do get towed away from the parade route, it's going to cost you at least $140 to get your vehicle out of the lot.

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