The Savannah City Council announced Tuesday, March 13, that the city will host Vice President Mike Pence for the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Vice President will accompany Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach in welcoming the parade participants and attendees, at the 10:15 a.m. parade kick-off on Saturday, March 17.
“The Mayor is honored to welcome Vice President Pence and members of the Pence family to our city and to what we believe is the world’s greatest St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration,” said City of Savannah Director of the Office of Public Communications Michelle Gavin at a Tuesday morning press conference at City Hall. “We have been working very closely with White House staff, along with the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, Savannah Police and other local state and federal law enforcement partners to arrange this visit.”
Gavin said she does not have any information on how the Vice President’s visit was arranged.
“For National Security reasons, I am not able to release any additional information at this time or any particulars regarding the Vice President’s visit to Savannah,” Gavin said.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Chairman Brian Counihan said he is also very excited to have the Vice President and his family in town to enjoy the festivities.
“I think it’s a great thing to come on a day that we celebrate our patron saint, Patrick, in our Catholic and Christian faith,” Counihan said. “We’re really looking forward to having him and showing him a good time.”
Mayor DeLoach, though not present at the press conference, issued a statement in a City of Savannah press release that he is looking forward to showcasing Savannah and the parade to both the Vice President and the United States.
“It’s a true honor to welcome Vice President Pence to our beautiful city,” Mayor DeLoach said. “They [the Vice President and the U.S.] will see what we have enjoyed for the past 194 years, the greatest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world.”
According to Savannah Morning News files, this year is not the first in Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration history a member of the executive branch will make an appearance. In 1888, President Grover Cleveland was invited to the dedication of the Sgt. William Jasper Monument in Madison Square, but only spent about an hour in the city.
Later in 1912, President William Howard Taft was invited to the parade and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Hibernian Society. Though he was unable to participate, he attended the Hibernian banquet, which was rescheduled to accommodate him.
Former President Harry S. Truman attended the parade in 1962. Before he was president, Jimmy Carter rode in the 1972 parade as Georgia’s governor. He visited Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day as president in 1978.
Presidential visits date all the way back the very first commander-in-chief, George Washington, who visited in 1791.
In more recent years, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Port of Savannah in 2013. President Barack Obama visited Savannah in 2018. George W. Bush made several appearances in the Savannah area during his eight-year term, including the three-day G8 Summit on Sea Island, Georgia, in 2004.
By Emilie Kefalas.