Savannah, Georgia, is hoping to beat New York today and host the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world.
However, New York is hardly quaking in its' boots.
According to SavannahNow.com, record crowds are expected to attend today’s celebrations, which will include more than 60 bands and almost 15,000 marchers.
New York however, claims 250,000 marchers so Savannah may have a ways to go.
The stars of the south however, say they are growing at a furious rate.
“For years and years, it’s always been said that New York’s was the largest,” says parade committee general chairman Michael A. Foran, who has been involved with the annual parade since 1976.
“According to the estimates I’m hearing, a million people will be in town over the weekend,” he says.
“We’ve got several livestreams on the Internet with a viewership of 10 million.
“Our website is getting 10,000 hits a day,” Foran says. “It’s just blowing up. We can’t keep up with the emails.”
Foran said that the phone in the parade committee office is ringing off the hook: “We get the craziest questions, people call and want to know what weekend to come.”
According to the parade organizer, the weekend date means more people can participate in the parade.
“There’s going to be a record number of participants and bands,” Foran says. “We’ve got 60-plus bands and about 15,000 people marching in the parade.”
“We’ve got very large contingents of military branches,” Foran says. “We’ll have the 3rd ID, the Rangers, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, including the admiral from our district of the Coast Guard.”
“We’ve got two sets of Clydesdale horses,” Foran says. “One set is the famous Budweiser Clydesdales and the other is from Express Employment Staffing Professionals. A pipe and drum band are also jetting in from Dublin.
“We’ve got another band, the Irish Air Corps, coming from Ontario, Canada,” Foran says. “We’ve also got the famous pipes and drums from New Jersey, the Shillelaghs.”
The celebration kicks off in February with an Irish festival. Since 1983 the committee also publish a special parade magazine.
“There’s something going on every weekend, including five to six functions a day with the marshal,” says Moran.
Once the weekend celebrations are over, preparations will begin for 2013.
“We’ll see problems in the parade and we take notes. All the TV stations send us disks that we study and try to make the parade better,” said Foran.
“It’s kind of like Christmas,” Foran said. “I enjoy it, and it makes me proud of my heritage.”
“I’m looking forward to everyone taking their political hats off and for one day, coming to have fun.
Concluding: “Be safe and enjoy yourself with your family.”
For more information visit www.savannahsaintpatricksday.com
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