SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Blame it on the rain.
That’s the consensus among the city and not-for-profit organizations behind the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival for the less than stellar sales of alcohol consumption wristbands this year.
Although sales were up slightly from 2013, the wet weather on that Sunday and Monday likely led to less demand for the $5 wristbands sold throughout the downtown entertainment zone, including River Street and the City Market, according to a staff memo sent to the City Council on April 18.
That is why the expansion of the festival to four days only resulted in 335 additional wristbands being sold, compared to the 79,238 sold during last year’s two-day celebration, said Carrie Bligh, executive director of the Savannah Waterfront Association.
“I have no doubt that if it didn’t rain, our sales would be in line with a four-day event,” Bligh said. “Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with us.”
Marcie Hill, director of the City Market, said she also considered Sunday and Monday “lost days” because of the rain and lack of activity. Still, the organization was able to recoup expenses and some additional revenue, Hill said.
“It’s too bad that the weather wasn’t optimal on Sunday and Monday, but that is the big risk with outdoor events,” she said.
The lowest number of wristbands purchased was on St. Patrick’s Day, when parade watchers were often holding umbrellas in addition to their to-go cups.
One dollar of each wristband sold goes to the city of Savannah, which will receive almost $80,000 this year. The remaining $318,000 will be divided among the Waterfront Association, City Market and the Savannah Downtown Business Association to offset the annual festival’s staffing and entertainment costs, as well as help fund other events throughout the year.
The organizations will next be hosting Blues on Broughton on the first Friday in June, followed by Art & Soul at City Market that Saturday. The Savannah Waterfront Association’s second annual Blues, Jazz and BBQ will also be held those days.