When I was in college at The University of Scranton, word on the street was that Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (or simply, “Parade Day”) was the 3rd largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country following New York and Boston. There was always talk that Savannah’s parade could easily out-throne Scranton’s, but I always chose to ignore this fact and tell whoever would listen that we were third.
You know what?
It turns out that Savannah is a big deal, as even Scranton’s website now concedes to being the “fourth” largest parade in the country (which is still no small feat), so Savannah must be at least worth exploring. And I think they’re telling the truth because when I visited the Savannah parade website, I discovered that they have such reputable corporate sponsors like Mitsubishi and Coca-Cola. Scranton probably just has the Mall at Steamtown (where families shop).
Now, unlike Scranton (who traditionally throws the parade on the 2nd Saturday of March), Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade actually occurs on St. Patrick’s Day (which is a Monday this year) at 10:15 in the morning and lasts for approximately four hours, during which Savannahers (Savannahnites? Savannahees?) claim it’s the second largest party in the country after Mardi Gras. You know what that means? It means that feasibly you could get to both parades in two weekends if you really wanted to, but that actually sounds like a pretty awful idea, if only for the amount of hungover flying it would involve.
Plus, I’ve never been, but Savannah seems like a pretty cool place to go for an extended weekend (which is what you’d be dealing with since St. Pat’s is on a Monday this year). It’s known as a very picturesque city, as it’s one of the only cities in Georgia whose pre-Civil War architecture was not destroyed by Sherman’s March (the city made a deal with him; never thought I’d be discussing Confederate trivia in a St. Patrick’s Day post). The parade mostly takes place in the city’s historical district, a roughly one mile by one mile neighborhood bordered on the north by the Savannah River. Bay street is the main thoroughfare in the historical district, with River Street being where most of the party migrates after the parade is done.
Another fun fact about Savannah is that there is no open container laws. It’s legal to consume alcohol in public, as long as you ask the bartender or bouncer for a to-go cup. There is however, a wrist band policy that needs to be followed during the parade, I’m assuming to just keep things under control. It seems fairly simple and you could read about it here. You could check here for a list of local bars, if you want to plan out your itinerary ahead of time (which is how I like to roll) and if decide to head down a day or two early I think the ghost tours in Savannah would probably be pretty good (with how old the city is and all) or if you want to drink and play Irish all weekend, nearby Tybee Island has its parade on Saturday, March 15th.