Monday, March 17, 2008

Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade of 2008 …

Parade attendees begging for beads
Photo credit: Clarion Ledger photographer Chris Todd

... is now history. Perfect weather made for large crowds and lots of festivity at Jackson’s version of welcoming Spring. Fashioned along the lines of a Mardi Gras celebration, this annual event attracts visitors from as far away as California and Wyoming, both to attend and to participate. One of its unique twists are Queens of all sorts parading down Capitol Street, with special emphasis on the Sweet Potato Queens and their Million Queen March. In addition to the fun of doing something downright ridiculous, the parade is also a fundraiser for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.

Mal is parade founder and organizer Malcolm White, who wears many hats around Jackson. After living and working in New Orleans during the 1970's, he got the ball rolling for this event after relocating to Jackson. I had the Irish luck of attending Jackson's first downtown St. Paddy’s Parade in 1982, which cranked up about the time I got off work. The parade's colorful past and present was recently covered by Mississippi storyteller Walt Grayson:

Look Around Mississippi:
Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade

"Leprechaun-at-Large" Malcolm White
Parade founder Malcolm White
Photo credit: Clarion Ledger photographer Chris Todd

Many are the years we’ve begged for beads from our regular shady spot across from the Governor's Mansion, and we wish we could have been in Jackson to attend this year. Even though we missed it, Hal & Mal's parade slideshow, accompanied by New Orleans jazz, really got me in the spirit.

This festive photo with my granddaughter Sarah was taken at Jackson's 2003 parade.

We also have a collection of last year's parade pictures at:

2007 Parade Photos
Green-haired lasses in 2003
Parade trivia and more:

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