St. Patrick's Day festivities to be coupled with DUI checkpoints

rlurye@islandpacket.comMarch 12, 2014 

  • IF YOU GO

    31st Hilton Head Island St. Patrick's Day Parade

    When: 3 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Begins at the south end of Pope Avenue, near Coligny Circle, and marches north to Office Park Road, making a left turn in front of the reviewing stand and ending in front of Park Plaza and the Courtyard Building

    Details: hiltonheadireland.org


    190th Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade

    When: 10:15 a.m. Monday

    Where: Begins at Abercorn and Gwinnett streets and ends at the corner of Bull and Harris streets

    Cost: Bleacher seats on Abercorn, Bay and Bull streets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the parade. Special-event parking prices range from $5 to $20.

    Details: savannahsaintpatricksday.com

Law enforcement, organizers prepare for St. Patrick's Day events

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drunken drivers ahead of St. Patrick's Day festivities on Hilton Head Island and in Savannah this weekend -- but they're not saying where.

The S.C. Highway Patrol plans to hold several checkpoints on Friday and Saturday nights, but their placement will depend on traffic conditions, Senior Trooper Hannah Wimberly said. In the past, the checkpoints have been from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on S.C. 315, S.C. 170 and U.S. 17, Wimberly said.

In 2013, troopers arrested eight people in Beaufort and Jasper counties at DUI checkpoints over St. Patrick's Day weekend, she said.

Drivers should not only arrange for safe transportation but also be aware they could be sharing the road with drunken drivers, Wimberly said.

In addition to the checkpoints, more troopers will be on the highways, and more deputies and officers will be patrolling on the island and in Old Town Bluffton, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and Bluffton Police Department.

THE CELEBRATIONS

St. Patrick's Day events begin in Savannah on Friday with an Irish Heritage Dance at 8 p.m. and culminate in a parade Monday at 10:15 a.m.

Hilton Head, however, features the first parade, at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Hilton Head procession will include dozens of marchers, floats, bands and a state championship Irish dance group, according to Kim Capin, parade committee chairwoman. The StarMakers Dance Company from Inman is making the trip to the island for the parade, she said.

"They're a really impressive group of young girls, so we're excited to have them," Capin said. "We do say on St. Patrick's Day, 'Everyone is Irish,' but to have some of the cultural highlights certainly adds to the parade a great deal."

Last year, the event drew more than 25,000 people, and Capin said she expects a similar turnout Sunday.

Road closings and lane reversals for the route on Pope Avenue will begin at about 2 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office. No parking will be allowed on either side of the route.

To avoid traffic, drivers not attending the parade should stay away from the south end of the island until after 5 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office has asked parade participants not to throw candy or other prizes from floats, so that children aren't encouraged to run into the street. No motorized scooters or golf carts are allowed along the route.

Vendors in designated areas will sell wine and beer, but consumption of liquor will be restricted to bars and restaurants, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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