Join firefighters from around the world to have fun while raising money for charity at the annual St. Patrick's Day Fire Ball.

This year's event will be March 18 at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. The ball is an extremely popular event.

"This year, we'll probably sell out with over 200 attending," says Jennifer Hinton, owner and lead planner of Love Actually Weddings & Events, which is organizing the Fire Ball.

As always, music and dancing are major parts of the fun.

"We got so much positive feedback from the band last year - Gene Pharr & Continental Divide from North Carolina - that we will have them again this year," Hinton says. "They do everything from Bruno Mars to K.C. and the Sunshine Band. It's an eight-piece band that is very entertaining."

A silent auction and raffle will be held. In addition to an open bar with beer, wine and liquor, there will be food available at hors d' oeuvre stations.

The Fire Ball has been part of St. Patrick's Day festivities in Savannah for a decade.

"Our company took over two years ago," Hinton says. "The Fire Ball is put on by the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association, Local 574.

"It is open to the public. We always get a really nice response from local business owners.

"Last year, we had the city council there," she says. "We have a lot of our Savannah firefighters and what's cool is we get to have people from out of the city and even out of the country who will attend the event."

The event is semi-formal, and firefighters are asked to wear dress blues. Men should wear shirts and ties and women should wear cocktail attire.

New members will be officially welcomed, recent retirees will be honored and visiting departments will be acknowledged.

"There's nothing like being in a room filled with selfless men and women who protect the city in which they live," Hinton says. "These men and women protect historic Savannah on a daily basis.

"We're very grateful to be part of the planning process," she says. "They can relax and network with other departments."

Although fun, the Fire Ball's main goal is to raise funds for charity.

"A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Fallen Firefighters Fund," Hinton says. "It allows union members and their families to go to Colorado Springs, where there is a memorial dedicated to fallen firefighters.

"A portion will benefit Paws for a Cause, the union's new 501c3, which allows union members to go to St. Joseph/Candler Hospital and visit with children who are patients. They read to them and leave them with a stuffed dalmation puppy.

"Many children look up to firefighters and police officers," she says. "It is cool for them to able to give those children a gift."


What: St. Patrick's Day Fire Ball

When: 7-11 p.m. March 18

Where: Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, 41 MLK Jr. Blvd.

Cost: Sold out; charitable donations and items for silent auction/raffle welcome