St. Patrick's Day Starts Early With Mad Dash to Squares

People jumped the metal barricades running for any area on the square.
People jumped the metal barricades running for any area on the square.
Rick Parrish, along with his family, arrived at Lafayette square at 5am in order to stake their claim.
Rick Parrish, along with his family, arrived at Lafayette square at 5am in order to stake their claim.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The dark of the early morning hours didn't stop people from surrounding Lafayette Square. This was a turf war, and everyone wanted to stake their claim to this popular piece of land. Or in this case, square.

"The barricades is making it a little bit difficult," exclaimed Rick Parrish. "But we've got a lot of young people coming up that can jump it at exactly six o'clock."

That's when the squares would open for long time parade veterans, like Parrish. This is his 32nd parade. He arrived at the square Thursday at 5am, just to make sure he could stake his claim.

"It's called gang force," he laughed.

His family's plan of attack was set.

"Me and him are going to jump the fence, get chairs," explained family friend, Colton McCyr. "They're going to start throwing chairs over and we're going to set them up and get our spot!"

And with that, the flood gates opened. People jumped the metal barricades running for any area on the square.

"Go, go, go!" one man shouted.

"Pull it, pull it!" another yelled to his crew.

And it was every man for himself. Chairs put down, tents went up, and rope blocked off each family's perfect spot.

"That was awesome," one man exclaimed,"top of the morning Savannah!"

Some might compare the mad dash to the squares to the Pioneer days, when people staked their claim to land. Or they might even compare it to the running of the bulls. Either way, once people got their spot, now came the task of setting up and waiting for the parade.

People threw their supplies over the barricades to family and friends waiting on the other side. Most people got the area they wanted, with only a few minor problems.

"We only had a couple of people who tried to be party crashers and sneak in," said Rick. "They made a mistake, they tried to get in my spot!"

"A couple people stepped up and said, no, that's Rick's!," exclaimed Rick.

The Parrish family and all his guests finally could relax and watch the parade.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying myself," said Rick. "I'm going to be totally exhausted tomorrow, but that's what it's all about isn't it?"

Indeed it is.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com