SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Behind the green beer and gaudy T-shirts, the 193-year-old St. Patrick's Day celebration in Savannah has retained its share of traditions rooted in faith and family.
Thousands will fill the brick sidewalks and oak-shaded squares of Georgia's oldest city Friday for the sprawling St. Patrick's Day parade that's become perhaps the South's biggest street party between Mardi Gras and Spring Break. But for many locals, the day has little to do with drinking and debauchery.
Every March 17, nearly 1,000 Savannah Catholics fill the pews of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist for a St. Patrick's Mass held before the parade. And the 2.6-mile procession is a big family reunion for many locals, who march to honor their Irish ancestors who came to Savannah in the early 1800s.