Savannah mayor says St. Patrick’s Day celebration should go ‘family-friendly’ again

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says COVID cases are declining and if the trend continues, the host city will hold the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time in two years.

If the parade and surrounding events take place, the mayor says he wants to see changes.

“I think we’ve all seen St. Patrick’s Day become something that we just don’t want to be representative of Savannah,” Johnson said. “St. Patrick’s Day turned into a drunken party. I go out on St. Patrick’s Day and see people lying in the streets. I don’t want their experience with Savannah to be tied to our sidewalk.

Johnson says 2022 could be an opportunity to reset the St. Patrick’s Day experience.

“And I think we have to figure out what we want (to do to move forward) and it’s a good opportunity because we haven’t had the parade to really look at what we want our celebration to be” , did he declare.

Attendance at the parade has grown over the years, as has the number of people who come from out of town to the host city, often turning their trip into a long weekend. In previous years, law enforcement has been keen to say they have plans in place to make alcohol-related arrests.

“I know some parents who don’t feel very comfortable bringing their kids downtown during this time and I’ll go further and say it’s not a very inclusive experience. Residents don’t want to participate in what’s going on, and I think that’s unfortunate,” Johnson said.

Johnson says the city is having discussions with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee as well as business and tourism officials. He promised more information at a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning.

“I hope the parade will definitely be different, but again, it allows us to create a better experience not only for our residents, but also for our guests here,” Johnson said. You know, we’re not going to be spring break.

He continued, “I don’t want people saying they came to Savannah but not remembering what happened.”

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