Standing next to a pink port-a-potty decorated with a sequin-clad Sweet Potato Queen, author and boss queen Jill Conner Browne officially announced Fondren's Zippity Doo Dah Parade this morning.
"It's not enough for a community to have just a place to live and to work," Browne said to a group of about 30 outside the Fondren Corner building. "We've got to have ... a time and a place to play. Play is just as important to your well-being as food, water and shelter, and Fondren gets that. Fondren is funky, and they know how to play. That's why we are here."
Hundreds of Sweet Potatoes Queens from around the globe will flock to Fondren in late March for three days of events including a scavenger hunt, a gallery crawl, a family festival and a night-time parade.
The weekend also includes several creative fundraising events to benefit the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. Local businesses, teams or individuals can pay $75 to enter a port-a-potty decorating contest, for example. The queens will raffle tickets for a Honda Insight that Patty Peck Honda donated to the event, and the parade offers several sponsorship levels for businesses and individuals.
The event kicks off March 24 with a special Fondren After Five: "Doo Dahin in Fondren." On Saturday, March 26, Sal & Mookie's hosts its annual Children's Street Carnival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along with The MARKET in Fondren from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The family-friendly festival and includes a pizza and ice cream eating contest, a dunking booth with Mangia Bene partners Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal as targets, sidewalk sales from local art vendors and live entertainment.
The parade on March 26 starts at the corner of State and Hartsfield Streets at dusk and makes a loop on Old Canton Road and Duling Avenue. It features decorated golf cart floats.
For more information about the parade, or to apply for a sponsorship, the port-a-potty decorating contest, or a golf-cart entry, visit zippitydoodahparade.com. Applications will be available on the site by the end of today. Applications for golf carts are due by Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. to The Fondren Renaissance Foundation (3318 N. State St.). E-mail [e-mail missing] for more information.