For those of us who have followed the parade for many years, you may have noticed it is no longer the MAL’S St. Paddy’s Parade. And now we know the reason why.
WJTV’s Walt Grayson had a conversation with the co-founder of the parade, Malcolm White and we touched on several topics, including his brother, Hal.
Jackson’s St. Paddy’s Parade modestly sprang into existence on St. Patrick’s Day afternoon, 1983. It was a Thursday and most notably that first parade is remembered for snarling afternoon rush hour traffic on Capitol Street. After that attention-getting inauguration, things settled into Saturday parades and from then until now, growing into the Jackson equivalent of Mardi Gras with an Irish Flavor.
Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day. And everybody was looking for a signature event. It’s the rites of spring. It’s the end of winter, the coming of spring and people are excited.
Hence the birth and growth of Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade. But recently there has been a slight shift in the name of the parade to Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade. It’s a brotherly thing.
“My brother passed six years ago in March. He loved this parade. And I have this theory that people die in two ways. One is when their heart stops beating and their physical body discontinues functioning and they physically die. And the second time they die is when people quit mentioning their name. I don’t want people to forget who my brother was, who he is, his contribution to this town. What is the biggest most impactful thing I can do for my brother right away that really cement his legacy? And I said, “I’ll rename the parade for Hal.”
So from that time until now, it’s been Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade. A yearly romp through the city that is open to everybody of every age who wants to be Irish for the day. And leading the way will be the banner in honor of Harold White as prescribed by his brother, Malcolm, who founded the parade but abdicated the honor of the name in memory of his unforgettable brother.