Another St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, with all of its tradition, joy, fun, crowds and drunkenness.

Because of a friend’s recent move, I no longer have access to my typical parade viewing spot, so I’ll probably spend more time this year just wandering around on the morning of March 17, in addition to my usual wanderings at other times during the extended festival.

The “official” festival has been cut to two days, but that’s good news if you’re a local who objects to paying $10 each day to drink outside, which you can do as a matter of right on every other day of the year.

Of course, keep in mind that Jones Street marks the southern edge for to-go cups in downtown Savannah. Many locals and visitors are not aware of that longstanding restriction, and officials do not typically enforce that boundary during St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but you should know the law.

Also, $10 wristbands will only be required March 16 and 17 in the control zone that includes parts of Broughton Street, City Market, Bay Street and River Street. So if you’re planning to visit downtown bars outside those areas or do your carousing on March 15, which will be a crazy fun night, you won’t have to worry about wristbands at all. Wristbands will not be needed during the parade hours, either.

It’s also worth noting that bars won’t be open on Sunday, March 18, but restaurants with bars will be. Given the upbeat long-range weather forecast, I expect Sunday to be a great day for wandering downtown, especially since city crews typically do such a quick job of cleaning up trash on parade day.

Many downtown bars and restaurants have booked excellent bands for weekend gigs, including daytime sets. You can read about some of those performances in Joshua Peacock’s Empire of Sound column in this issue of Do.

There will also be four outdoor stages on River Street and two in City Market, all featuring busy lineups on both March 16 and 17.

Sure, St. Patrick’s Day is not a music festival, but with so many good acts playing, it would be nice to see the bands and set times promoted more effectively. For many partygoers, the outdoor stages will just provide background music, but plenty of live-music lovers will turn out for specific shows.

For example, the Savannah institution Bucky & Barry will play in City Market, and the lineup for the River Street stages includes more than a dozen local acts with big followings. Some are playing on both March 16 and 17.

To put it simply, there are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Savannah. Whatever you decide to do, be smart, be safe and tip well.

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged ( and hissing lawns ( Email