SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah's Saint Patrick's Day celebration is almost two weeks away, but local businesses aren't feeling the heat. This time last year, most hotels were booked solid for the big event. Not this year.
Some blame confusion, since the parade is on March 14, not March 17. But hotel managers are being patient, insisting visitors will come, not wanting to miss the big parade.
"Saint Patrick's Day is Saint Patrick's Day," Whip Triplett, general manager of the Doubletree Hotel, told WTOC. Triplett says his three Savannah hotels still have plenty of vacancies. "It's pacing out ok, we are booking a little slow. Slower than last year."
He blames the economy, but has a feeling Saint Patrick's Day landing on Holy Week could be part of the problem, resulting in confusion. "We get questions. We get even more questions on Saint Patrick's Day," Triplett said. "We're used to the questions now."
"There's a lot of calls," said John Forbes, chairman of the Savannah Saint Patrick's Day Committee. But Forbes is confident this year will rank right up there with past celebrations. "It will still be a big crowd, 300,000 people, it's a long weekend."
Advertisements are hitting Jacksonville and Atlanta promoting the date change for the parade. Triplett hopes word gets out, turning a slow season into a big turnout. "The parade is on the 14th, the celebration runs through Saint Patrick's Day and we still have availability," Triplett said.
Besides hotels, several construction projects are hoping to finish in time for March 14.