Businesses, hotels preparing for busy St. Patrick's Day celebration

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - St Patrick's Day is in less than two weeks, and many downtown businesses in Savannah are gearing up for the two-day festival.

While that's shorter than the past couple of years, those in the hospitality and tourism business are getting ready for a big crowd anyway.

Right now, it's all about making sure resources - from employees to supplies - are in place for the holiday weekend.

Most owners and managers know what to expect and are planning accordingly, even with the designated festival happening Friday and Saturday this year.

"I think the two days will bring people in earlier. I mean, I've already got people prepped for coming in and starting Monday and being busy leading up to the pregaming for Friday, so I think it will definitely make town busier up until then," said bar manager, Rebecca Schmidt, Collins Quarter.

"We run it today like it's any other day. We don't do anything different. We don't move furniture, we might set up another bar inside to just help the to-go crowd, but, for the most part, we found that if we just treat it like a regular day at B. Matthews, it's just better for everyone," said Brian Huskey, Gaslight Group, Owner.

As far as hotel occupancy, we'll be getting that info soon. One general manager told me there are always rooms; you just have to know where to look.

The general manager of the Planters Inn says when it comes to hotel booking this year, he's noticed an interesting trend with the two-day festival designation.

"Well, it's interesting this year. Since the parade is on a Saturday, we normally think of a Friday, Saturday-type schedule for people to come in, but what we're looking at actually is a lot of people coming in on that Thursday ahead of time," said Marc Friday, Planter's Inn, GM. "Now, whether they stay the Thursday and the Friday and try to go home Saturday, I don't know, but it looks like even though we've called it a two-day festival period, it looks like the powers that be that are coming into the city are going to call it a three-day festival, period, which is great. It's wonderful."

Friday says the only thing his business really has to tweak for the festival weekend is adding extra security - something he says other hotels do for the weekend.

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