SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The City of Savannah is expecting its biggest crowd ever, as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. With the influx of visitors, it will be even more difficult to find parking and a spot to watch the parade.
As the city prepares, officials are asking visitors and paradegoers to follow a few rules. City manager Jay Melder says to have a plan and come downtown early.
He urges paradegoers to take public transportation, walk or bike to the parade to avoid heavy traffic. The city asks if you have to drive, to pay attention to the signage when parking. Because if drivers park in a restricted zone, their car will be towed.
Melder also expects crowds will continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day through the weekend.
“We’ve seen crowds higher than 100,000 before, easy, and that’s what we’re expecting this year for a Friday parade,” Melder said. “So we’re expecting the heaviest crowds that we’ve ever seen.”
Also, remember, the expanded to-go cup zone is only for Friday and will end at 2 a.m. on Saturday. The zone stretches from River Street all the way south until Victory Drive. It runs as far west as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and as far east as Truman Parkway.
With the larger crowds comes more police on the streets, too.
Savannah Police Chief Lenny Gunther said while police will patrol the entire city, there will be extra focus on City Market and surrounding streets. Gunther also said the goal for police is to be visible, accessible and proactive. He says police will also add extra lighting around City Market too, as festivities continue through the night.
“We know that certain areas are going to be extremely dense with our visitors and our community and City Market being one of them,” Gunther said. “We’ve increased our staffing in specific areas, not only City Market but across our city, because what we want to do is ensure that everyone has a safe and good time.”