SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Saint Patrick's Day parade is just days away. Last year, the City of Savannah changed they way parade-goers could reserved a spot along the parade route. This year there some new rules for the squares.
Last year, the dedicated parade-goers got to save their spot at 3pm the day before the parade. "That prevented people from coming 48 hours before and tenting out here, that was a good thing," said city spokesman Bret Bell. "The bad thing though was we had this real large rush at 3pm the day before and people were literally fighting each other over these spaces and this came at 3 in the afternoon when there was traffic and there were some vehicle-pedestrian incidents so we really wanted to prevent that this year."
Bell said this year those folks are going to have to wait until 6am the day of the parade, when there's far less traffic. "It's not a perfect fix, we admit that, but we hope it is better than last year."
There's going to be a marshal assigned to each square this year to enforce this rule and others. No grills are allowed and the only things that are allowed are coolers, lawn chairs and 10x10 foot tents.
"Last year in the square we saw someone set up scaffolding. They had their picnic below and their chairs on top," Bell recalled. "That can't happen."
Also for the first time, the city will actually be video taping what goes on in each square, especially in Lafayette Square and Chippewa Square. The city is also going to do more to keep tally of just how many people attend the festivities.
Bell said, "As we consider these and some more severe changes we realized we didn't have a ton of great solid information to base those decisions on, so this year we are making a real concerted effort to get that information."
That could mean even more changes for next year's parade. There are also new rules for parking, shuttles and the festivities on River Street. Click here for a list of all the new rules for 2008.