The fountains have been dyed green since the anniversary of Biggie Smalls’ death. They’ve had pre-game pub crawls called St. Practice Day. Weekend lodging at such resorts as Quality Inn Midtown reign in at almost $300 a night. Yes, Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a very, very big deal -- and it’s only growing. By some counts, it’s the second biggest in America (beaten only by NYC), maybe even third in the world. Whatever the number is, it’s almost 200 years old and has attracted more than a million people to the city for the event.
Why though? Well, Irish-Americans played a big part in the founding of Savannah, and in the early 1800s a group of Protestants called the Hibernian Society (the oldest Irish society in the U.S.) started making a private procession to church, eventually inviting all Irishmen to join their pedestrian journey through the city. That was 1824, and since then, populations have increased, Prohibition came and went, and Savannah got this pretty amazing to-go cup ordinance that allows you to drink publicly. Starting to make sense?
Good, but you still need some info before you go. This year’s parade will feature 15,000 or so people, split into 350 marching organizations. The entire downtown -- specifically the area of City Market and River Street -- will be frothing with green-beered revelers insisting you pay homage to their heritage (but without judging them for what they do to their livers). Make your way to the pot of gold, or at least the pint of green, using this can’t-fail guide.