Focused on Mississippi: St. Paddy’s marches on

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Christmas is behind us and so is New Years, and after tomorrow Mardi Gras season will be over. So, is that the end of the excitement for a while? Well, Walt Grayson says absolutely not.

Walt starts our week for us, with a story as he does every Monday. And today he has one about the biggest spring-time event in Jackson. The upcoming St. Paddy’s Parade.

There are a couple of things we can count on every spring. Getting some allergies or the sniffles, which I am celebrating now, AND Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade which we can all celebrate this year on the 23th of March, the Saturday AFTER St. Patrick’s Day. The parade and the festivities surrounding it, the Children’s Parade that morning and the Pet Parade also that morning, allows all of us, participant or observer to cast off our everyday persona and allow our weirdness or coolness or cool weirdness to come out and play for the day. Malcolm White started the parade 36 years ago while searching for events through which Jackson could come out of its shell.

” At that time I was working on Jubilee Jam and Zoo Blues. Why don’t we have more parades in Jackson? Got on the phone I called my friends. I rounded up a couple of sponsors and off we went. And we started at C.S.’s and paraded downtown went up Capitol Street, ended up at George Street. What I DIDN’T think about was that it was rush hour on a Thursday. So here we go, 4:30 in the afternoon. We’re stopping all the traffic, people are honking their horns, they’re waving their arms, and I’m thinking, admiration!”

They love us!

“Well the next day the big news story both on TV, radio and in the newspaper was, “Parade Stops, Snarls Downtown Rush Hour Traffic. How on earth could they have gotten this permit?”

There have been many fortuitous additions that became attached to the St. Paddy’s Parade in Jackson over the years that added to its popularity. The blossoming of and worldwide following of the Sweet Potato Queens didn’t hurt a bit. The Sweet Potato Queens will be back in the parade this year. It is a frolicking way to kick winter behind us and step into spring in Mississippi. Now, with a 36 year track record, not only Mississippians but people from all over the country and world line the sidewalks with us to let their inner being step to the front for a day.

Walt promises more stories between now and the 23ed about the St. Paddy’s Parade. Such things like the name change from “Mal’s” to “Hal’s” St. Paddy’s Parade and more about the Sweet Potato Queens

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