JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The St. Paddy’s Day Parade is a mix of St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras in Jackson. The parade is Jackson’s signature event. Everyone’s invited, and everyone shows up.

The Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade is a chance to have some fun for a day at nobody’s expense. The children get to play. There’s the pet’s parade, too. The Sweet Potato Queens convene in Jackson. The queens from more than 6,000 official sweet potato chapters in over 20 countries gather. They get to be who they want to be for the day with nobody telling them they can’t do it.

The crowds gather to watch and revel in the spirit of togetherness that we don’t have many other ways to express in Jackson.

The money raised from the parade, like the fees to enter a float, go to Children’s of Mississippi, the only children’s hospital in the state.

There is a point to all this frivolity. If you go to the parade and you don’t catch any beads, you can buy some. Bring some easily-accessible money with you. A group of volunteers called the “City Sweepers” go along the parade route selling beads. The money goes to the Children’s Hospital, too.

St. Paddy, the patron saint of fun, festivities and friendship in Jackson. May the kindly saint’s parade stretch on forever, and it’s participants be forever festive.