Parade canceled, Savannah plans virtual St. Patrick’s events

FILE - Revelers prepare for the St. Patrick's Day parade on one of the city's historic squares, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) (Stephen B. Morton, Associated Press)

SAVANNAH, Ga. – With Savannah’s 197-year-old St. Patrick’s Day parade canceled for a second straight year, organizers of the Irish celebration plan to move several smaller events online.

The coronavirus pandemic once again caused leaders of Georgia’s oldest city to deny a permit for the sprawling parade, which draws hundreds of thousands to Savannah every March. The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee isn’t giving up completely on 2021.

Parade committee chairman John Fogarty said in a news release that organizers plan to film four events leading up to and on the March 17 holiday so that people can safely watch from home.

They include the greening of the wrought iron fountain in Forsyth Park, where the gushing of green-dyed water each year signals the beginning of St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The committee will also stream video of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist that traditionally comes right before the parade.

The somber Celtic cross procession and ceremony staged to honor Savannah’s original Irish immigrants on the Sunday before March 17 will also be shown online, as will the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the city’s monument to Revolutionary War hero Sgt. William Jasper.

Fogarty said the committee looks forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in person again in 2022.