Final preparations underway for Five Points St. Patrick's Day Festival

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "It's sort of serves as like a homecoming," says Merritt McHaffie, Executive Director and Co-chair of the Five Points St. Patrick's Day Festival.

In just two days, the streets of Five Points will be filled with thousands in green.

"It's right at about 40,000 each year," says McHaffie.

Final preparations are underway to make this year's St. Patrick's Day celebration, better than ever.

"Each year we do try to focus on ways to improve the festival and ways to continue to appeal to as many people and a broad audience as we can," says McHaffie.

Crandall Sims reporting, "One of those improvements for this year's St. Patrick's day festival involves your cell phone, in previous years those attending the festival complained of not having any service. This year, officials are working with service providers to make sure if you want or need to use your phone, you can."

Changes are also on the way.

"One thing that's new this year is our parade grandstand," says McHaffie.

"The bands are different, we do have Chairman of the board for the Shagging on Santee area," says McHaffie.

"The gourmet beer garden on Saluda avenue is going to be bigger this year," says McHaffie.

There's even something new for the kids, a carnival.

"There's entertainment there's rides theri's all kinds of fun stuff for families and kids and its free," says McHaffie.

While the day for luck can be fun, officials ask that you remain responsible.

"We don't want to have any sort of accident and we want people to enjoy themselves in a safe way," says McHaffie.

But if you do find yourself in need, there's the 'Comfort Zone.'

"It's sort of serves as an information booth, so if there is a lost child or if you need information, if someone has a diabetic attack, we have supplies there," says McHaffie.

In the meantime, preparations will continue as many here get ready to see some familiar faces from the past.

"They're coming back to their roots, they're experiencing 5 pts. again, and they're remembering when they were in college," says McHaffie.

The annual St. Patrick's day 5K will take place at 8:00 a.m. followed by the parade at 10:00 a.m. Bands will play from Noon-6:00 p.m.

Tickets are $12.00 in advance, $15.00 at the gate.

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