Savannah businesses looking ahead to St. Patrick's Day crowds

Savannah businesses looking ahead to St. Patrick's Day Crowds
Updated: Mar. 10, 2017 at 5:44 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - In less than a week, hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on Savannah for the oldest Saint Patrick's Day celebration in the country.

With the influx of visitors comes some of the best business days of the year for any business catering to tourists. Weather is a big factor in the overall success of the three-day event, and if it's anywhere near what we had on Friday, it's going to be spectacular. But no matter what, the festival will go on.

With all the visitors, hotel rooms will come at a premium depending on where you want to stay. While occupancy is projecting to be very high for the festival, there are more hotel rooms in our area than ever before, making it a buyer's market so to speak.

"Our expectations are, we are going to have a very busy weekend. Not only in Savannah, throughout the area. Whenever we talk about it, we are not talking about just the Historic District, because hotels and restaurants all throughout the Southside, Midtown, and so forth will be busy, and I know that many of the vacation rentals on Tybee Island are expected to be full as well," said Joe Marinelli, president/CEO of Visit Savannah.

One business counting on a big turnout every year is one you would expect to do well for St. Patrick's Day.

"It's crucial for our survival, for the whole year really," said Kathryn Neagle, manager of Saints and Shamrocks.

Saints and Shamrocks sits at the tail end of the parade route, so they're counting on a big crowd at least for Friday.

"We are expecting big crowds this year. A Friday parade is a big parade. Saturday next year will be even bigger. But any day you have can have a parade it's fun and it's great for business. But a Friday parade for everyone downtown it's crucial this year I think," said Neagle.

A larger number of hotel rooms available around the area this year will make it easier for people to book rooms, even if they haven't yet, according to Visit Savannah. Overall, they say businesses have high hopes for the 3-day festival, which is no different than any other year.

"It will be fun to be in the city, we'll have a lot of visitors, a lot of friends and family coming in. And I know everyone is going to have a good time," said Marinelli.

We're exactly one week away from the parade, and we expect to hear last minute preparation plans from groups like the Riverfront Association first thing next week.

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