Huge downtown economic impact expected for St. Patrick's Day

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, March 13, 2013


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Hundreds are expected to be downtown this Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Downtown restaurant owners are ordering more food and planning for extra staff.

City leaders have been planning for weeks to make sure staff are on hands for the cleanup afterwards.

Lucky four-leaf clovers are going up as downtown restaurants prepare.

"We were not anticipating so many people coming downtown. It's great to see a lot of families coming out supporting what's going on," said New Moon Cafe Manager Christina Rentier.

She remembers the huge crowds that came out to watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"We are ready for the huge crowds this year," Rentier said.

"Last year, we were caught unaware," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

"We did pretty well last year. They're were a lot of people downtown before the parade to get a good seat. Some people would camp out as early as breakfast," Rentier said.

City leaders say once people come downtown, they usually stay a while eating and drinking. It translates into hundreds of dollars for downtown bars and restaurants.

"I have the opinion of every penny they spend here is good for Augusta. We want people to have a good time and be safe," Russell said.

Last year, the cleanup afterward was a problem, but this year, they have a solution. Parade organizers will have volunteers picking up trash all day, and more dumpsters are being put out.

Parks and Recreation crews will be on hand sweeping the streets twice.

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