There’s more to St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah than drunkenness and debauchery – although, let’s be honest, that’s certainly a big part of the draw.
On March 17, when America’s second–largest St. Patrick’s parade takes over downtown Savannah, the city’s population swells by several hundred thousand. The beer will flow like wine, the streets will be wall–to–wall with papier mache, and everything in sight – from the statue of Casimir Pulaski to the Mercer House to that Connect Savannah box on the corner – will be tinted a sweet emerald green.
At least, it’ll seem that way.
After the parade, the Savannah Riverfront Association wants every person it can muster to meander over, spend some money with River Street merchants, take some photos, maybe have a brewski or two.
Now, of course quaffing is not a requirement at the event the association calls St. Pat’s on the River. You can go to check out the music.
Here’s the lineup, starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday (that’s the 17th, and things get kicking just after the parade winds down):
High Velocity (2 p.m.), Hazzard County (6 p.m.), and Liquid Ginger (celebrating their 10th anniversary together at 10 p.m.). Bands at 4 and 8 p.m. are yet to be announced.
There’ll also be Karaoke, DJs and “at least one mechanical bull.”
Yes, admission is free.
The star of Jury’s Ireland Cabaret in Dublin, singer/comic Tony Kenny is one of the land o’green’s most consistently successful exports: He tours the States every year as a sort of emerald emissary – he’s what used to be known as a “song and dance man” – and his shows are the sort of singing, dancing and fiddling extravaganzas that America has come to love (think Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Celtic this and Celtic that ... you get the idea).
With the Dublin City Dancers and Irish comic Joe Cuddy, Tony Kenny’s Celtic Nights revue touches down at Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 12. Tickets are $35 at (912) 598–0151
Tara Feis, as you’ll read elsewhere in this issue, is a family–friendly day of celebrating the Irish. It begins at 11 a.m. Saturday (May 13) at Emmet Park, on the east end of Bay Street, and it’s free.
Along with the lovely and talented Celtic performer Cathie Ryan and her band, the Tara Feis entertainment lineup includes Savannah’s own Harry O’Donoghue, pub singer Frank Emerson’s “Tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces,” the Irish
Dancers of Savannah, performers from the Glor na h’Eireann Irish Dance School, a magician and a puppet show.
Admission is free.
St. Pat’s Pops
Savannah Philharmonic conductor Peter Shannon, an Irishman if ever there was, directs “St. Pat’s Pops,” featuring a small band and members of the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 13 at the Trustees Theater. Tickets range from $10–$30.
The centerpiece, though, is a 10–member contingent of traditional Irish musicians – fiddle, flute, Uilleann pipes, bodhran and the like – coming over from the music school at the Dublin Institute of Technology, on a grant from Cultural Ireland.
Four of their instructors will play, too, including guitarist John Feeley, described by Shannon as “the Eric Clapton of traditional Irish music.”
This group – calling itself the Irish Traditional Music Ensemble – starts its week in the Hostess City by playing a 12:30 p.m. concert Wednesday (March 10) in the Jepson Center’s Eckberg Auditorium. Admission is free.
Saturday’s St. Pat’s Pops program will alternate between American pop songs performed by the chorus (“Uptown Girl,” “California Dreaming” et cetera) and jugs and reels from the young Irish players. “It’s sort of a quasi–face–off between traditional Irish music and American rock,” says Shannon, who also says he’s not yet certain how it’s all going to play out onstage. “We just want to have a bit of fun,” he explains. “It’s gonna be an amazing night.”
(By the way, Harry O’Donoghue – fresh off his afternoon appearance at the Tara Feis celebration – will be a part of this show, too.)
Downtown will be bustin’ out all over with good rockin’ bands, as the sidewalks swell with visitors, thrillseekers and the curious. Here’s the lineup for the two City Market stages, all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. March 16 and 17: Catch the Caleb & Bo Show, High Velocity, Mcfly, Soulfish and Liquid Ginger.