BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.

CITY TALK: Crowds large and small for St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah

  • Johnson Square is pictured just before the 2017 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade rounds the corner from Bay Street to head south. (Dash Coleman/Savannah Morning News)

I hope everyone had a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day, but keep in mind that the holiday isn’t quite over.

The traditional post-St. Paddy’s Irish Road Bowling Tournament is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 25. The tournament takes place on the old racetrack on Hutchinson Island.

Who knew that rolling a metal ball down the road could be so much fun? Seriously, if you haven’t gone road bowling, it needs to be on your bucket list. You can register for the event ($20) on the Ancient Order of Hibernians website (http://www.aohsavannah.com/irish-road-bowling).

After last Friday’s parade, I wandered River Street, which as expected was teeming with people. As I’ve noted here before, our holiday crowds don’t rival those from a generation ago, but it was a busy scene.

There were also steady crowds in the northern portions of downtown on Friday night and all day Saturday. Given the perfect weather, the turnout wasn’t a surprise.

Still, I’ll be curious to hear the final tally on wristband sales. I know the $10 price to drink in the streets turned a lot of people off, but the nice weather certainly mitigated the impacts of this year’s price increase.

I was also downtown for a couple hours on Thursday night. The official “festival” was already underway, but the temperature was in the 40s when I got downtown about 10 p.m.

The streets were busier than the average Thursday, but things seemed slower than an average Friday. My designated driver easily found an on-street parking space on Johnson Square, and I didn’t see a single person wearing a wristband, though some might have had them obscured by winter coats.

I live several blocks south of Forsyth Park in an area where many paradegoers park, and on St. Patrick’s Day itself I usually wake up to the slamming of car doors and loud chatter.

But this year there were still parking spots available at least as far north as 32nd Street about 20 minutes before the parade began.

In some years, it’s actually difficult to walk down the crowded Abercorn Street sidewalks near the beginning of the parade, but not this year.

The chilly start to the day clearly impacted the parade turnout, but I can’t help feeling like poor civic messaging continues to deter people from coming into town.

Implausible, overinflated estimates of festival attendance discourage some locals from coming into town for the parade and other festivities. The $10 wristbands are off-putting to many of us, but the hard-core drinkers who are desperate to party won’t bat an eye at that price.

And, once they’ve paid their $10 to drink in the streets, they make sure they get their money’s worth.

City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via billdawers@comcast.net. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.

Comments