Mal's St. Paddy Primer | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mal's St. Paddy Primer

If you're new to the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, here are a few facts about the main players.

• 1982 This is the year of the first Paddy's "parade." Call it more of a happening. This small pub crawl held by the leaders of what we now know as the Mal's Paddy's Parade.

• Kermit the Frog He's the grand marshal of this year's parade, along with the "It Ain't Easy Being Green" theme. Kermit is one of the many Muppets created by Mississippi native Jim Henson, whose exhibit closed March 14 at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

• Malcolm White Otherwise known as Mal, he is half of Hal & Mal's, the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, and all around lover and established supporter of Jackson. His idea for a pub crawl 28 years ago has morphed into the modern day Mal's St. Paddy's Parade. He runs with the O'Tux Society for the parade, so look for him handing out flowers to all the lovely ladies of the crowd.

• Sweet Potato Queens All hail the queens of the parade! Started by Jill Conner Browne in 1982, this group of lively ladies comes from all over the world to participate in the parade every year. There are more than 5,800 chapters in 20 countries now and the week before the parade, watch out for the influx of queens and queen wannabes into the city. The Sweet Potato Queens promote unity and strength in women, and numerous books and years later, the queens are still the highlight of the every parade.

• Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital All money made from the Sweet Potato Queen Ball will go to help the thousands of children that grace its halls each year. The Blair E. Batson facility is the only hospital in the state dedicated solely to the care of children.

• Hal & Mal's If you follow the parade trail, you will end up here (along with everybody else in the city). This is the location of the biggest party of the year, and as the host of the after-party every year, Hal & Mal's will be ready for everyone. Bartenders, managers and wait-staff from past years jump on board as part of the crew that serves your drinking needs, pre- and post-parade time.

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