Savannah tells its St. Patrick's Day parade watchers to stop smooching soldiers

Spectators might have to kiss a decades-old tradition goodbye in Savannah's St. Patrick's Day parade.Women in ...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 12:54 AM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 12:54 AM

Spectators might have to kiss a decades-old tradition goodbye in Savannah's St. Patrick's Day parade.

Women in the crowd are known to dash out into the streets and plant a smooch on uniformed service members marching in the Georgia port city's St. Patrick's Day parade, the second-largest in the United States and third-largest in the world.

But military officials and parade organizers are hoping to curb amorous paradegoers this year.

The Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee announced last week it wants the pastime to come to a halt, something it's been attempting for years.

The practice predates the 1960s but has gotten out of hand over time, said Brian Counihan, general chairman of city's parade committee.

Kevin Larson, spokesman for nearby Fort Stewart, said that the military is just asking people to police themselves. It's not a law or a rule.

Larson said that the soldiers marching in the parade are at work. They have to maintain their professionalism because they are representing the Army.

"At the end of the day, we enjoy taking part in these events," Larson said. "But we do need people to respect our soldiers' space."

The bystanders running into the streets can also spark safety and security concerns.

"You can imagine when you have all these people marching, it causes a disturbance," Counihan said.

He said the rush interrupts the movement of floats, causes service members to lose their formation and results in huge delays.

The parade committee has tried to stop people from rushing into the streets before. Years ago, it told participants on floats not to throw beads or candy out into the crowd as a way to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

The Savannah event started more than 190 years ago. About 280 units, including bands, soldiers and floats, march through the downtown streets of Georgia's oldest city.

With this year's parade on Saturday, the committee is expecting more than 500,000 to show up, and all the hotels in the area have sold out, Counihan said.

Typically, those watching the parade can just run into the streets and plant one on any passing soldier. Larson said that military officials know the bystanders can't be forced to stop.

"There are some people who like it and some who don't," he said. "It comes down to personal preference."

He said that officials have suggested that soldiers who do not want to be kissed can say no or offer a handshake instead.

Still, the parade committee chief insists, "We are not party poopers.

"This is a large event, and we are just trying to discourage people from interfering with these units," Counihan said. "It's just a little bit dangerous, and we want everybody safe."

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 85°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 81°
Scottsboro
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 55986

Reported Deaths: 685
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12549208
Davidson12234132
Rutherford323437
Hamilton300736
Sumner172755
Williamson151515
Trousdale15035
Knox13929
Out of TN12307
Wilson106017
Putnam9267
Robertson87511
Bradley8744
Sevier8573
Unassigned8302
Lake6960
Tipton6625
Bledsoe6241
Montgomery6207
Bedford5898
Macon5114
Maury4063
Hamblen3974
Hardeman3744
Fayette3443
Madison3392
Loudon3021
Rhea2930
Blount2723
Dyer2703
McMinn25518
Cheatham2432
Dickson2310
Washington1970
Cumberland1934
Lawrence1926
Anderson1662
Lauderdale1643
Sullivan1592
Jefferson1481
Gibson1471
Monroe1416
Smith1362
Coffee1320
Greene1222
Hardin1197
Obion1172
Cocke1160
Haywood1082
Franklin1013
Marshall1011
Warren1000
Hickman950
Wayne900
Marion874
McNairy841
Lincoln780
Giles771
White773
Carter751
Roane710
DeKalb700
Overton671
Weakley671
Hawkins662
Grundy652
Campbell621
Claiborne590
Henderson560
Unicoi560
Carroll491
Chester480
Grainger480
Polk480
Henry470
Crockett443
Johnson440
Sequatchie420
Cannon410
Humphreys352
Perry350
Meigs340
Jackson330
Morgan291
Fentress250
Stewart250
Decatur240
Scott210
Union190
Clay180
Moore170
Houston160
Benton131
Hancock90
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events