A Green River Ran Through It

Every St. Patrick's Day scads of people of all nationalities embrace their real and imagined Irish roots. Celebrations run from the silly to the sublime. You can do everything from go to church (really, St. Patrick is, after all, a Saint which makes this a religious holiday) to tattooing Kiss Me, I'm Irish on the top of your head. And the parades, the glorious, terrifying, stupendous parades, are everywhere.

If you want big, loud and crowded then Savannah Georgia is the place for you. What do you need to get you into the spirit? Green. More green than you ever thought possible. More green than you would have thought your brain could stand. To this end every fountain in town is dyed green on the twelfth of March. They have been doing that for more than one hundred years. One hundred years of green water. Wouldn't you think someone would have called the EPA by now?

Maybe green water isn't enough for you. How do green grits sound? I think they sound like something out of a Dr. Seuss book but I am assured they are a Savannah tradition. Will there be green beer? Do you even have to ask? Even the river has been dyed green for previous St. Paddy's Day events.

This year you can park on Hutchinson Island and take the ferry to River Street. That sounds like a grand idea to me. You can pretend you are your Irish forefathers and foremothers immigrating to the new land. Think potato famine and land of opportunity. Now that you are in the proper frame of mind to celebrate your new improved situation it's time for a parade and some live music.

Live music for the River Festival starts on March 16th with a band called Wormsloew and runs through Saturday when it finishes up with a band named Bonepony. There will be world beat, folk music, several shades of rock and something called an extravaganza. A more inclusive list of bands can be found here. There will also be recorded music supplied by live DJs. That's good because dead DJs have no place at a St. Patrick's Day blowout.

The St. Patrick's Day parade starts at 10:00 am on March 17. The parade lasts for about two hours and half a million spectators are expected. The first of these parades was held in 1812 and these guys are very proud of their tradition. There will be floats. There will be marching bands. There will be Irish guys in Irish gear. Yes ladies, there will be some men in kilts. The Police Emerald Society of South East Georgia will be wearing Black Watch tartan. There will be people throwing beads. Sorry fellas, there will be no nudity. Come on, it's a family show! There will be all the super cool things that make this parade the third largest in the United States.

Sometimes you don't want to face the big crowds. The thought of trying to find a parking place is exhausting. You want a little peace and quiet but you still want to do something fun, maybe hit a parade that is not quite so large. Maybe a little itty bitty parade will be just the thing. Then head off to Enterprise Alabama for the annual One Man Parade.

Enterprise doesn't have quite the long history of parades as Savannah, their parade started in 1993, but it is pretty special. One person is chosen each year to carry an Irish flag and a pot-o-gold as they walk from the courthouse to the Boll Weevil Monument. (No, really, they really do have a monument to the boll weevil, I promise you.) The lucky chosen one gets to say some limericks as accompaniment. Limericks, vermin, gold and pride in your heritage. Now that's entertainment.