In just eight short days a sea of green will take over Savannah as it hosts one of the biggest Saint Patrick’s day celebrations in the world. People set out from all over the world to enjoy the festivities and have a green dyed beer to celebrate.
The first publicly held Saint Patrick’s Day procession in Savannah was in 1824 and since then the popularity of the parade has only increased, as has the Irish population. People make sure to sport their best green attire because myth says, that if you’re wearing green you’re invisible to the leprechauns so they can’t pinch you.
When speaking to representative from the City of Savannah, web and media administrator, Saja Aures, she said:
“As a historical city we have quite a big Irish population, so they like to honor their heritage through the celebration. As the years have gone on it’s turned into sorta big party for everyone. We had a former mayor who used to say everyone’s Irish on Saint Patrick’s day,” said Saja Aures, web and media administrator from the City of Savannah.
Gathering visitors from around the world can be exciting, but after having one too many green beers, the crazies come out of the woodworks. Many have witnessed funny and crazy occurrences when celebrating saint pats in Savannah and one Georgia Southern student shared her story of what she encountered.
Crazy Saint Pats Encounters
Hannah Hurst, senior writing and linguistics major, went to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah with a group of her friends last year. From men in dresses to people painted head to toe in solid green she encountered the most festive festival goers from all around.
Kissing a soldier on the cheek as they pass patrons while walking the parade route has become a crowd favorite, but sometimes people can get a bit out of hand.
“People go crazy when the Benedictine cadets come by. I saw a girl push a little kid out of the way cause she was running to go kiss somebody!” Hurst explained while laughing.
Other crazy things she has encountered is people passed out in random spots around town as well as people trying to drunkenly fight others. She claimed a homeless lady was trying to punch people, but victims had enough time to move out of the way before the woman actually hit them, because she was clearly intoxicated.
This caused crowds to get angry and the police came shortly after to arrest the women, sitting her on the nearest bench with handcuffs until a police car came to escort her.
“She was mad at one person and then she would turn around and try to go fight somebody else. I think she was one of the homeless people,” Hurst said.
How to be safe when celebrating
More often than not, Saint Patrick’s Day does not end without someone diving into the Savannah River by accident because of the impaired judgement that comes about from drinking alcohol.
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) recommends that everyone who intends on drinking should figure out who is driving before you head to Savannah. It should be someone who you know wont drink and will ensure you get home safely.
They also recommend that you or your group of friends make the commitment to take an uber or taxi home.
“What we run into a lot is that we drive our cars downtown and then we go drinking and we said we were gonna take an uber but our car is there and we don’t wanna have to worry about going to get it in the morning and all of that,” Corporal Hillary Nielsen, on behalf of the SCMPD, said. “So people end up driving home drunk, when they shouldn’t be, but if you take an uber or taxi to begin with that temptation is gone.”
Nielsen stressed the importance of making a plan before you start drinking because alcohol does impair judgement and you don’t wanna be so drunk that you do crazy things in public. There are free ferries and shuttle services offered by the police department and more information on that can be found on the SCMPD.org website.
So go out and enjoy the madness that comes about during the Saint Patricks day parade and have fun, but learn from these stories and be safe.