2008 Irish Festival Kicks Off

People learned traditional Irish dances
People learned traditional Irish dances

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The 2008 Savannah Irish Festival is officially underway.

Friday night folks gathered at the Savannah Civic Center to start this year's Saint Patrick's Day festivities off in style.

Walking around the room you could tell the Irish tradition were alive and well, you could hear it in the music, see it in the dancing and in each and every person.

Their energy was contagious and it was obvious they were ready for a good time. Jenny Brown of Savannah said, "It's a month long celebration and it just helps to celebrate the Irish heritage of Savannah and gets everybody in the right mood.   It's very family oriented."

"Once you start at the festival all through the holidays you just go and see the same people over and over again," said Maria Buckhaults with Irish Dancer of Savannah.

To kick off the festivities organizers thought it would be good to get all the Irish together and make sure they were all in step when it came to those Irish dances. It didn't matter how old or young they were, they were all on the dance floor that's because they say dancing is a part of the Irish history and without it, it wouldn't be Irish.

One man in attendance was visiting Savannah from Ireland and said he couldn't be more impressed with our dancers, both the professionals and those learning the steps for the first time. "There's a touch of nostalgia when you see something like this happening, said Batt Burns from Ireland, "It brings you back it's great.  These people, these organizers deserve a lot of credit for keeping these traditions alive."

Traditions we'll see a lot more of between here and Saint Patrick's Day, so brush up on your dance steps and get ready for a traditional good time!

The Irish Festival goes on all weekend at the Civic Center.  On Saturday from 10:30 am to 8 pm and Sunday noon to 7 pm.

Admission is $11.50 per day pr $20 for a two-day ticket.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com