SAVANNAH ― The Forsyth Park fountain, an iconic symbol of this historic city, took on a brighter hue Friday afternoon.

John Forbes, grand marshal for the 2024 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, poured a gallon of green dye into the fountain’s pool a few minutes after noon. Within minutes, the water-spewing figurines were stained a shade of kelly green.

“The green water is like the blood of our Irish heritage,” said Fred Elmgren, the master of ceremonies for the Greening of the Fountain, one of several events organized by the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.

The parade marks its 200th anniversary Saturday, March 16.

Forsyth is one of several downtown fountains dyed for St. Patrick’s Day week. The tradition formally dates to 1985, but the water features went green for years before that with residents handling the mixology, usually under cover of darkness. In 1961, the city also tried to mimic a Chicago tradition by dying the river green, but strong currents and Savannah’s twice-daily tidal cycle made that effort futile.

The fountain greening begins the countdown to the parade. This weekend also includes the Tybee Irish Heritage Parade on Saturday and the Celtic Cross Mass and Ceremony on Sunday, which includes a procession from the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist to the Celtic Cross Monument in Emmet Park on Bay Street.

The Sgt. William Jasper Ceremony is Friday, on the eve of the parade, at Madison Square in downtown Savannah. Jasper was an Irishman who fought alongside the Colonials during the Revolutionary War. He died during the Siege of Savannah in October 1779.