Every year on March 17, the otherwise quiet and majestic streets of downtown Savannah are packed with seas of green. 250,000 Savannah natives and 500,000 visitors alike, gather to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and enjoy the Irish festivities.
Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade has been marching the mossy downtown streets since 1824. It’s the second largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, but if you know anything about Savannah, you know we won’t stop there. We’ll also host Savannah’s biggest parties of the year; nationally-recognized festivities featuring live entertainment, games, food, and of course (in keeping with the Irish theme) beer!
During the parade, you will feast your eyes on approximately 350 floats and marching units, which will represent local Irish groups, bands, military, schools, politicians, and even celebrities. The spectators often prove just as entertaining as the parade. We dye our hair, our clothes, our dogs, our drinks, our kids… heck, we even dye every fountain within the city’s limits green. Not to mention, the ladies of Savannah have developed their own traditions. Every year, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and even strangers, run into the parade and leave bright red lipstick kiss marks on the cheeks of the adorable high school boys of Benedictine Military Academy as they march by in uniform.
And last but certainly not least, no one can forget the Shriners of Alee Temple, the crowd’s most beloved parade unit, and a touchy subject for some Savannah parade-goers. In 2001, the Shriners, who had been the single largest unit in the parade for 40 years, were asked to cut back the number of members marching, due to the parade’s growing length. The Shriners’ response? All or none, baby! Luckily, the parade committee finally came to their senses, and welcomed the Shriners back in 2005. I think Savannah will agree with me when I say, the parade is just not over until you see the go-cart Shiner clowns.
If you’re lucky enough to have gotten your hands on one of Savannah Dream Vacation’s properties for the weekend, start thanking your lucky stars now. You’re within walking distance of the parade and festivities, you don’t have to hassle with driving the hard-to-maneuver road blocks, and you will covet the off-street parking, I promise.
For all of your other Saint Patrick’s Day needs, we’ve created a go-to guide to ensure a hassle-free, fun-filled day. You’re in for some belly dancing, go-cart driving, sword swinging, jewel wearing, bag pipe playing, good ol’ fashioned fun!
Greening of the Fountain
March of Dimes Shamrock Run 5K Race & Fitness Walk
6:00 pm (Registration at 3)
Irish Heritage Dance
Tara Feis Irish Celebration
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tybee Island Parade
Tybee Island (start: City Hall)
Saint Patrick’s Day Rugby Tournament
Carrigbyrne Pike and Choir
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Sergeant William Jasper Green Ceremony
City Market Celebration
March 16 –
12:00 pm (16th) –
11:59 pm (17th)
Saint Patrick’s Celebration on the River
March 16 –
Saint Patrick’s Day Mass
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Parking fee is $10.00 (also covers round trip ferry ride). The Savannah Belles Ferry will be operating from 7:10 am – 11:59 pm to take patrons from the Trade Center to River Street. Details here.
Westside Shopping Center
Patrons can park their cars at this location and ride bus shuttles (from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm) into downtown Savannah for $3.00 round trip. Details here.
Island Towne Centre
Bryan Street Garage
Open 24 hours on March 16 and March 17.
Whitaker Street Garage
Liberty Street Garage
State Street Garage
Around 6pm on March 16th, city workers will begin “bagging” (covering with yellow bags) meters in restricted areas: the parade route, the parade staging area, and the parade disbanding area. Any cars parked at a bagged meter on the morning of March 17th will be towed. Any non-bagged is safe for parking (for free). Here are some other (paid) parking options:
On Saint Patrick’s Day, all bars will close at 1:00 am. To-go cups can be carried on the streets anywhere within city limits.
In the Festival Zone (on River Street from MLK to Savannah Electric) wristbands are required to drink outside (you are still permitted to drink inside any bar without a wrist band). No drinks are allowed to be taken into or out of the Festival zone.