Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day is causing lots of changes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink at the parade.
On Wednesday, the city announced that the Secret Service will control a 12-block “enhanced security zone” extending from Bay Street to Oglethorpe Avenue between Whitaker and Drayton streets. The zone is to ensure Pence's safety during the parade.
A number of items - including folding chairs, coolers, backpacks, purses, tents and alcoholic beverages - will not be allowed to enter the controlled zone.
Public concern rang out on social media following Wednesday’s announcement. Savannah’s open air drinking laws are a big part of the tradition-packed event, but don’t worry: Pence’s visit is only slightly changing your drinking plans.
Alcohol can’t be carried through any of the six security checkpoints surrounding the enhanced security zone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink once you get in.
The selling and consumption of alcohol will still be permitted within the control zone, but only in to-go cups provided by the bars and restaurants within its borders.
We put together a handy Google Map overlay that includes the location and contact information of all the bars and restaurants in the enhanced security zone so you can grab a to-go drink.
Residents who live within the perimeter of the zone will be able to make drinks in their house, but only to-go cups will be allowed outside.
Everywhere outside of the enhanced security zone will operate like a normal St. Patrick’s Day. You can drink outside from a to-go cup, but if you’re in the designated festival zone - which is also included in our map - you’ll have to purchase a $15 wristband.
Wristbands are only good for one day of the festival, so if you buy a wristband on Friday, you won’t be able to use it on Saturday.
As always, if you’re not planning on taking your drink with you, you won’t need a wristband.
The festival zone and the enhanced control zone share a 7-block overlap. If you’re between Drayton and Whitaker streets, north of Broughton Lane and south of Bay Street, you will be in both zones. In this case, you’ll need to get a to-go cup from a bar within the zone, and you’ll need a wristband to drink it outside of the bar.
If you do plan to drink during the festival, regardless of where you drink, please do so in moderation. If you drive, take advantage of AAA and Budweiser's Two To Go program by calling 855-286-9246. The free service runs Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday.
Savannah police will be out in force on St. Patrick’s Day. They’ve provided a list of infractions they’ll be on the lookout for during the festival.
More than one drink on the street: $121
Drinking from a cup larger than 16 ounces: $150
Drinking from can, bottle or glass: $150
Drinking alcohol in parked motor vehicle: $150
Minor to drink/possess alcohol: $250
Consumption of alcohol in Festival Area (control zone) without required wristband: $100
Disorderly conduct by: urinating in public: $200
Disorderly conduct by: fighting, indecency, etc.: $500
Have fun, be safe and Erin go Bragh.