The girl next to me is applying bright red lipstick, very thickly. She passes it to her friend, who in a hurried shuffle does the same just as the boys in uniform come marching down the street. The two rush out from the crowd seeking an especially fresh-faced cadet and laying big fat smooches on his cheeks, leaving perfect lip imprints on the young man’s blushing face. It must be St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah.
Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is world-renowned and definitely something you must see at least once in your lifetime, but several other Georgia cities celebrate the wearing of the green in a big way. Here are a few.
Tybee Island Irish Heritage Celebration Parade: Just down the coast from the streets of Savannah, along the ocean, is Tybee Island. Tybee does its own version of the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 12 that includes family-friendly floats, marchers and musical bands, all with a quirky Tybee Island bent. So, grab your green, and head to the beach.
Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade: One of the oldest in the country, Atlanta’s parade dates back to 1858. This year’s event on Saturday, March 12 features the Budweiser Clydesdales, Irish dancers and even storm troopers in kilts. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tradition of kissing cadets who march, but you can be part of the world’s largest Irish flag as it closes the parade down Peachtree. (Read Festival Explorer Eileen’s tips for navigating the parade in Midtown Atlanta.)
St. Patrick’s Festival, Dublin: When you live in Dublin, you pretty much have to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. The Dublin, Ga., St. Patrick’s Festival runs Feb. 20 – March 31. Festival goers will enjoy the Irish Balloon Fest and Glo on Saturday, March 12. Balloons launch in the morning, with a glow from sunset until around 6:30 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Conyers: This parade is held on St. Patrick’s Day. (Most parades are held the Saturday before.) Stay after the floats have gone by and the bands have marched. There will be a crowning of the St. Patrick’s Day king and queen, as well as a leprechaun look-alike contest. I have an aunt that would win that competition hands down.