I've never been a huge St. Patrick's Day fan, which is a shame, really, because everyone else in America seems to love it. Plus, I look Irish, I’ve been to Ireland, I enjoy Guinness and Black Velvets, Irish coffees, and the color green. What's not to love?
I guess it's not that I DISlike it, I just find the Shamrock Fests, Lucky Fests, Any (insert name here) Fests less fun, more mere opportunities to pay a lot of money to wait in long lines for beers next to girls dressed like sluts. I get it - this kind of debauchery is right up some people's alley, but it's not really for me. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon or just lame, but the older I get, the less I like hanging out in large crowds of people I don't already know. Unless music is involved. And then I make an exception.
So going to Savannah - home to the third largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the country (according to Orbitz.com) - had never really interested me. The crowds, the lines, the college drunks - I just assumed it'd be like amateur hour for party-goers. But when my friend Lisa moved there, I decided, even without the promise of good music, to make an exception and give it a go.
Plus, it's Savannah. And I love Savannah.
So I, along with another willing participant Kristin, hit the road early Friday and headed for the Georgia Lowcountry, excited to see Lisa and what this celebration was all about.
Somewhere between Macon and Dublin, Georgia, Kristin said she'd never been to St. Pat's in Savannah either. Then she asked, "So, what is it? What are we going to do?"
I laughed out loud and nearly ran off the road, because she'd asked the very question I'd wondered to myself since agreeing to go. Kristin, much like myself, was just along for the ride. Lisa said, "Come to Savannah," and we said, "Ok." No questions asked.
Maybe we didn't know exactly what we were getting ourselves into, but within just hours of arriving, we were walking around the picturesque city with cold beers in hand (thank you, no open container law), so I was happy.
This little girl saw my camera, ran in front of me and begged me to take her picture, saying, "Put me on TV!"
After our walk/tour, we cleaned up (which always takes longer when there are three women asking each other, "Does this look okay?" "How should I wear my hair?" and "Are these shoes too tall?" - my shoes were definitely too tall, by the way; huge mistake). Then we headed downtown, eventually winding up in a beautiful bar, Circa 1895, drinking dirty martinis, meeting (and then offending) new friends and telling stories for hours. I couldn't help but thinking that I had misjudged Savannah's St. Patrick's Day weekend.
If this is what it's all about, then count me in.
On Saturday, our plan was to meet Lisa's friends at Oglethorpe Square to watch the parade. But when Saturday morning came, sleeping in became way more important. Lucky for us, the local television station televised the event, so we didn't miss any of the "action."
I realize I could offend everyone in the city of Savannah (except for Lisa who agrees with me), but I thought this parade was rather sad. Parades need floats or clowns or balloons or all of the above. Not old people with green jackets on golf carts or little kids dressed in jumpers waving at their friends. Just because a parade is long (and this one lasted about 3.5 hours), doesn't mean that it's good.
Even though the event was lame, I still felt a little guilty missing it, since that's what the entire festival centers around. But we did watch it, in our pajamas, in the comfort of Lisa's apartment, making fun of the parade announcers, playing with Lisa's dog Murray, and making each other laugh. I guess you could say we had a little parade of our own.
A freak parade.
We eventually made it out, stopping at one of the squares that resembled a Georgia North Campus tailgate party only everyone was wearing green instead of red and black, and then down to River Street where most of the almost one million people that descend upon Savannah bring their shenanigans to party. As it turned out, our little freak parade at Lisa's paled in comparison to the jean shorts convention going on down by the river.
It was a sea of debaucherous green.
Once we secured a table at Tubby's Tank House, which despite the huge crowds and long lines didn't take nearly as long as it could have, we watched the passersby, accepted cat calls from strangers and waved at anyone who looked our direction.
Some guys yelled at us. We took pictures of them.
By the time we'd made it to Tubby's, we were starving. So we order one of everything off the menu (not really, but close) and ate until we were stuffed.
I also tried to dance with a police officer, but he declined, and said he didn't want his picture taken. His loss.
On Sunday, we ended the weekend with coffee at Gallery Espresso, and later tacos at Tybee Social Club.
My weekend did little to disprove everything that I know to be true about myself - the craziness of Savannah on St. Patrick's Day is, on paper, not really my scene. The crowds, the scantily clad women and creepers whistling - it was a little too much sometimes.
But I love a good party. And Savannah throws excellent parties.
So excellent, even, that sometimes my friends and I have to leave the party before 10pm to go to bed. I'm ok with it.