published Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Savannah expects big crowds for St. Patrick's Day

SAVANNAH, Ga. — St. Patrick's Day revelry in Savannah is expected to fill the streets of Georgia's oldest city with thousands of tourists.

The sprawling parade started in 1824 by Irish immigrants to the Georgia coast kicks off Thursday morning. And hotel managers and bar owners in the city expect the celebration to continue through the weekend.

Some bars plan to begin pouring at 7 a.m. Thursday, a full three hours before the parade begins. They won't close until last call at 2 a.m. Friday.

Savannah last studied the economic impact of St. Patrick's Day a decade ago, when the celebration on the cobblestone riverfront alone was estimated to bring in $30 million. Turnout on peak years has been estimated at up to 400,000 people.

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