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Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 11:13am

Pre-St. Pat's Weekend a Little Less Musical

Two downtown business groups in Savannah have decided not to hire live outdoor music for this year's weekend-before St. Patrick's Day festivities.

The decision comes as merchants expect fewer visitors this St. Patrick's Day, Savannah's largest annual tourist draw.

Fewer visitors are expected in part because of the economy, but mostly because this year's holiday falls on a Wednesday, when fewer people can take off from work.

"It's drastic in comparison to a weekend event where you're looking at 400,000 to 500,000 and some have said up to 750,000 people coming into town," says Kenny Hill of the Savannah Waterfront Association. "On a mid-week event, you're looking at 125,000 to 150,000, which is still a huge, huge influx."

Hill says, he and others are using the slower year to better plan for what should be massive festivities in coming years.

"We're working on developing a much larger event that promotes the Irish community for longer than a one-day or two-day or weekend period," Hill says.

There'll still be some live outdoor music on St. Patrick's Day and the day before.

Indoor venues, of course, will still book musicians.

Also, the outdoor and family-friendly Tara Feis festival is scheduled for the weekend before St. Patrick's Day.