Street Vendors Getting Ready for Saint Patrick's - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/15/06

Street Vendors Getting Ready for Saint Patrick's

Hundreds of thousands of people will be on the streets for Saint Patrick's Day in Savannah. And that's what the street vendors are counting on. Many believe this year could be the biggest yet.

Vendors will have everything a hungry Saint Patrick's Day partier could want after a day at the parade.

With five stands to watch over, Trisha Lewis says this year could be more overwhelming than usual. One semi, more than 550 pieces of equipment and food--boxes stacked head high full of thick and juicy treats.

It's a lot of work, with some fun mixed in. "It's fun after you are open and get all your stuff done," said Lewis. "We have our fun or else we wouldn't be out here."

But it's not all fun and games for "Bear" and his friends. They run the games on MLK. You can take a few shots with a basketball or pop some balloons, and try to win some prizes. These may not be right on the parade route, but that won't stop business from shooting in.

"If there's 300,000 people coming to downtown I hope we'll get 10 percent of them," Bear said.

Vendors say they'll have more than enough beads, boas and stuffed animals, and even the perfect hairstyle if you want. Jimmy Ellis is the man who sells all the wigs, beads and baubles.

He pays $1,500 to hold his spot and move in six tons of things to buy this year, his biggest load in a decade. He's hoping for good weather and good customers. "We bring that trailer full of stuff every year. Last year we had a little left over, so we didn't have to bring as much."

This year Ellis wants to leave all his empty bags behind, so he's willing to "wig out," with better offers. "We got the best beads in town, best prices, just say you saw me and I'm Monty Hall. Let's make a deal."

And vendors hope they'll be dealing with the biggest crowds ever.

The Savannah Waterfront Association says it handed out permits for more than a dozen vendors this year. Most of those you see working in Savannah this weekend will be off to another part of America for another festival next weekend.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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