St. Patrick's Day Parade


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St. Patrick's Day Parade (Savannah, Georgia)

March 17
One of the oldest and biggest parades in the country, held since 1824 in Savannah, Ga., a city with a long Irish history. The oldest Irish society in the United States, the Hibernian Society, was formed in Savannah in 1812 by 13 Irish Protestants. The next year they held a private procession that was a forerunner to the present St. Paddy's parade. The first public procession is recorded in 1824, and public parades have been held ever since. There have been only six lapses of this parade: for wars, sympathy for the Irish Revolution, and for an unrecorded reason. The first floats appeared in 1875; according to reports of the time, one carried two women representing Ireland and America, and another had 32 women for the 32 counties of Ireland.
Today the parade, which follows a route through the city's historic district, comprises between 200 and 300 separate units, including family groups, commercial floats, Georgia and out-of-state high school bands, and military bands and marching units. The day begins with mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Members of the Fenian Society of Savannah, formed in 1973, start things off with a members' breakfast of green grits before they form a marching unit. The other main activity is eating. The fare is predominately green—grits, beer, doughnuts, etc. Crowds are estimated at anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000.
See also St. Patrick's Day
CONTACTS:
St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee
5 W. Liberty St.
P.O. Box 9224
Savannah, GA 31412
912-233-4804; fax: 912-233-8244
www.savannahsaintpatricksday.com
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