Mary Crane Orne, senior account manager, has been working for Gas South for more than two years. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Orne is looking forward to the biggest celebration of the year in her hometown on St. Patrick’s Day. With the holiday quickly approaching, we spoke with Orne to learn more about her family traditions surrounding the holiday and the town that hosts the celebration every year.
What are some of the things you and your family do in Savannah to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Growing up, I was in the choir at an all-girls Catholic school, St. Vincent’s Academy, and we would sing a few times each week during the month leading up to St. Patrick’s Day throughout different locations in the city. We sang at various events and for numerous groups – including nursing homes, the airport, restaurants and festivals for the grand marshal. Attending some of the events continues to be a tradition for my family during the weeks leading up to the big day.
The “Greening of the Fountain” ceremony is held the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day in Forsyth Park and the Saturday before the 17th, we attend both the Tybee Island Parade and the Tara Feis Irish Celebration. The celebration is a festival located downtown with Irish dancing, food, crafts and live music.
On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, my family and I attend mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist for the feast day of Saint Patrick. After mass, everyone in Savannah quickly finds a place on the street to get the best view of the parade. We set up our spot inside Chippewa Square, which is known for the famous park bench scenes from “Forrest Gump.” Once our spot is claimed, we set up tents, tables, chairs and plenty of food and drink for all, and wait patiently for the parade to start!
What do you enjoy most about St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah?
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a “coming home” for many Savannahians, so I’m looking forward to seeing old friends. I’m also looking forward to seeing the grand marshal, the families of past grand marshals, school groups, bands and other groups in the parade. Once the parade is over, I’ll find a pub – all of which are Irish on March 17th – listen to bagpipers and try my luck at Irish dancing!
What would you tell someone considering a trip to Savannah during St. Patrick’s Day?
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and come ready to have a great time! The city closes down for the celebration and towards River Street it’s a wild party, but away from the river, a lot of families enjoy the festivities together.
One last tip – on St. Patrick’s Day, when someone greets you with the phrase, “Top of the mornin’ to ya’ ” you must respond back saying, “And the rest of the day to you.”
Erin go bragh!