Savannah Police, business owners planning for big crowds in City Market on St. Patrick’s Day

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As many are already arriving in town for St. Patrick’s Day, businesses in City Market are expecting their biggest crowd in years.

Safety concerns have prompted changes after several violent incidents in and around City Market.

As the weekend comes, Savannah Police Chief Lenny Gunther said there will be more officers than usual in City Market as the night crowd is expected to be here on Friday and Saturday. Businesses say they’ll also be equipped for the busy weekend.

“Our presence will be noted and visible.”

As people flood these streets with green and many with drinks in their hand. Chief Gunther says they have several priorities for this area and across the city. Number one is visibility.

“Number two being accessible, number three being proactive and number four and most importantly making sure everybody has a safe and good time.”

That’s also a top priority for Stu Putman who has owned Treehouse bar in City Market for 18 years. He feels confident about safety because of the heavy police presence and police substation in Ellis Square.

“Ourselves, we will have Bryan County off-duty police working along with our own security staff.”

He says they plan to host 3,000 patrons a night, meaning many will be coming in and out. He says often times tourist aren’t the ones involved in violent crimes.

“The big holidays, it’s usually too much drinking and that sort of thing. We’re very mindful to make sure that we keep underaged folks out, that we don’t over serve and that everybody is able to get home safely.”

And on the more family-friendly side, Savannah Candy Kitchen will be open until 11 p.m.

“I’m pretty excited for it.”

Candy Advisor Brianna Definis says they’re also expecting a lot of people coming in and out and they’ll have security covered.

“I do know personally that our store provides that. So, everybody should be safe in the market while they’re shopping and having fun and doing other things they like to do.”

Keep in mind bars close at - 2:55 in the morning this weekend.