SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announced on Friday plans to virtually present several special events in March.
The spread of COVID-19 has the committee reimagining nearly 200 years of tradition.
“You know you go to the past chairman for advice,” said General Chairman John Fogarty of the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. “Normally it’s advice that you’ve seen before, but there ain’t any chairman that’s gone through something like this.”
Fogarty is planning a virtual celebration with no playbook. He says his approach was to focus on what’s important.
“Our purpose, and you can see when you came in the door on the wall, is to put on a celebration on March 17 that honors St. Patrick.”
Fogarty says the parade is too big to prerecord and present online.
According to the parade committee, events celebrating the Celtic Cross Ceremony, Greening of the Fountain, Jasper Green Ceremony and St. Patrick’s Day Mass will be virtual.
“Put those four pieces together I think we are able to virtually celebrate the day with anybody out there that wants to click the link,” said Fogarty.
“We want to be safe and that’s the city’s number one priority and that is ours also,” he added.
Mayor Van Johnson says the city is on board, and will support the committee in anyway they can.
“We just thank them and the public for understanding the time in which we live,” said Johnson.
Fogarty says they are working with the City of Savannah’s guidelines regarding the ability to film private events in traditional locations that we plan to virtually share with the public.
“Although we are unable to have the parade and election of the grand marshal this year, we know that it’s important to respect tradition and our Irish heritage as much as possible while ensuring the safety and health of others,” said Fogarty.
With no festival, Fogarty hopes there will be more of emphasis on faith and family.
“Taking a breather every once in awhile is not a bad thing,” said Fogarty, “it’s unfortunate and its not what we want, but it does force ourselves to really take in some reflection.”
The City of Savannah announced in January that it was not issuing any special event permits through March 2021. As a result, the parade committee had to cancel the 2021 parade.
For more information about the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, visit savannahsaintpatricksday.com.