SAVANNAH, GA. (March 10, 2014): Changes in traffic patterns and alcoholic beverages use will begin Friday afternoon, March 14, as the City of Savannah and the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department kick off the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

That’s when Metro Police begin assigning additional officers to patrol the downtown Festival Area in the four-day event that culminates after the annual parade on St. Patrick’s Day, Monday, March 17. The Festival Area is bounded by the Savannah River, MLK Jr. Boulevard, Jones Street and the railroad tracks to the east of the Marriott Hotel on East President Street.

At 5 p.m., police will close off the City Market area from Bryan Street to Congress to all traffic on Barnard and Jefferson streets. St. Julian Street will be closed from MLK Jr. Boulevard to Montgomery Street about noon.

Attendees will be required to wear wrist bands to drink alcoholic beverages in public streets and areas in the Control Zone after 5 p.m. that Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. the next morning; and on Monday – from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m. Tuesday. The Control Zones runs from the Savannah River, along MLK to Broughton Street Lane, east to Drayton, north to Bay Street Lane, east to Broad Street and back to the River. Wrist bands can be purchased for $5 at various locations throughout the zone. A map showing the locations can be found at the website Wristbands are not required inside businesses but smoking is banned in them.

Pets in the Control Zone will be limited to service animals and pets of residents who live in the zone. The service animals must be leashed at all times. Owners will be able to obtain tags to for their pets at the SCMPD command center on St. Julian Street at City Market to identify them as service animals. Also prohibited in the Control Zone are coolers, exotic animals, skates and skate boards, bicycles, fireworks, sparklers, bank snaps, smoke bombs or other items that could be dangerous or disruptive.

City parking garages will remain open 24 hours in the downtown area, including during Monday’s parade, but entering and exiting them will be halted during the parade itself. Metro Police suggest using the parking area at the Savannah Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island which will charge $20 on Monday but will be free the other three days.

Four Savannah River ferries will be in operation from 7 a.m. until midnight Friday-Sunday from the unmanned Trade Center to the City Hall Landing behind City Hall at River and Bull streets. A free Chatham Area Transit (CAT) bus also will run from Indian Street and MLK Boulevard to the Trade Center parking lot from 11 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. Saturday. All other traffic on Indian Street will be discontinued during the four-day festival.

On Monday, ferries will operate between the Trade Center and City Hall Landing from 6 a.,. – midnight and from the Trade Center parking lot to Rousakis Plaza Recreational Dock from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. CAT also will be operating two buses from Indian and MLK to the Trade Center parking lot 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Police will have no option but to tow vehicles parked in the staging area of the parade and along the parade route starting at 6 a.m. on Monday. The staging area includes the boundary within Whitaker Street from Gaston to Henry Street; Habersham Street from Henry to Gaston Street; and Gaston Street from Habersham to Whitaker.

The parade itself will travel north on Abercorn Street to Broughton Street, east on Broughton Street to East Broad Street; Bay Street from Broad to Bull Street; and Bull from Bay until it disbands at Madison Square at Bull and Harris Streets. Traffic on most of the parade route will be closed at 8 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. on Bay Street.

Only law enforcement vessels will be allowed to dock on city docks during the festival.

Metro Police remind the public that all squares along the parade route will be closed to the public from midnight Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday. Vehicles parked along the route will be towed and those parked illegally in the adjoining areas will be towed if they block emergency vehicles and ticketed if illegally parked. Portable toilets will be placed in the area for Patrons. Urination outside the legitimate toilet areas will lead to criminal charges.

Southside Fire, EMS and Security will have 12 ambulances in sic locations, golf cart-style emergency vehicles at four additional locations, and seven two-EMT bicycle teams assigned to different locations in the downtown area and Forsyth Park during parade hours on Monday.