St. Paddy's A Boon for the City | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

St. Paddy's A Boon for the City

photo

Damon Hogben manages the crowds and enjoys the music at his usual spot inside Fenian's.

The roughly 70,000 visitors who will descend on Jackson this weekend for Mal's St. Paddy's Parade will bring more with them than green clothing and a strong thirst. The parade, now in its 28th year, has an overall economic impact of $6.8 million for the city, according to the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. The crowds that gather downtown for the parade also spend money on hotels and food and other goods, giving many city businesses some of their most lucrative days of the year.

The Roberts Walthall Hotel expects to enjoy a boost in business with the influx of visitors to downtown, General Manager Jimmy Sanders said. This the second year the hotel will be open for the parade, and Sanders said occupancy is already 20 percent above normal. That could increase to 50 percent with walk-in traffic, he said. Sanders also expects bar and restaurant traffic to increase 40 percent, and the hotel is opening the bar at 11 a.m. to accommodate the crowds.

For Fenian's Pub, the parade day is the single most lucrative day of the year, followed closely by the actual St. Patrick's Day holiday, March 17. Damon Hogben, manager of the Irish pub and restaurant, said that sales on the day of the parade are usually five times greater than other heavy-traffic days. Since 2007, Hogben has taken advantage of the increased business by converting the pub's outdoor parking lot into an open-air party area.

"I tell my staff this is the most important week of the year," Hogben said. "In one week we probably make about half as much as we make in a whole month. We have a lot of repeat attendance from people whose first visit is during the parade."

Larry Hollingsworth manages the Hilton Jackson on County Line Road, which lodges and hosts events for the Sweet Potato Queens.

"Through the course of the weekend we'll see close to 3,000 Sweet Potato Queens in and out of the Hilton," Hollingsworth said. "Obviously, the convention center enjoys a large tax incentive when this group is in town. It's a tremendous opportunity to showcase Jackson and the flavor of Jackson."

More than simply bringing sales tax revenue to the city, the parade and its associated events offer the opportunity to market the city to outside visitors. "This community is enjoying and reaping the rewards of all the positive endorsements that the 3,000 ladies--from all over the world-- that are going back talking about how great Jackson is," Hollingsworth said.

Previous Comments

ID
156816
Comment

Ben Allen is this the actual design of the convention center hotel http://www.downtown-jackson.com/index.php/developments/development-info/101/, if it is it will be a nice additioin to downtown.

Author
NewJackson
Date
2010-03-20T08:43:48-06:00
ID
156825
Comment

Breaking News!!! WLBT reporting that the Sweet Potato Queens and the Parade have broken up. The Queens will have their own Parade next year! OMG

Author
prentiss reeves
Date
2010-03-21T21:40:09-06:00
ID
156827
Comment

Prentiss, yes, we confirmed that lat week, but didn't see any reason to report it until after the parade. It's too bad, but I doubt it'll have a major impact on Mal's parade at this point.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-21T22:16:48-06:00
ID
156831
Comment

Well Well say it aint so another suburban city trying to steal the show. Why do we need two parades, and to try and use the kids as the excuse for moving it to Ridgeland. I say the sweet potato queens should change their names to drama queens. I guess when your not the center of attention anymore you try to make your own parade.

Author
NewJackson
Date
2010-03-22T08:53:01-06:00
ID
156834
Comment

I hate to see it, too, Duan, but the St. Paddy's parade will be fine. It's growing in its own right every year, especially among younger people. We have to keep that up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-22T10:04:11-06:00
ID
156848
Comment

Sounds like the SPQs got too big for their britches. I did not miss them in the least Saturday. They can take their overplayed act to Madison County and be in a 2nd rate parade and no one will care. Is it true that they refused to participate because they couldn't lead the parade? If so, I find that highly amusing.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-03-22T12:04:41-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus