Spring Forward | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Spring Forward

Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade feels like the kickoff to spring in Jackson.

Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade feels like the kickoff to spring in Jackson. Photo by Trip Burns.

As I write this, it's spring break week--which, sadly for those of us who are childless and do not work in the education sector, means just another work week. I say sadly because it seems to me that a break is warranted after February. February is a hard month. It's cold, it's still winter and, other than Valentine's Day, it just really doesn't have much going for it. I don't seem to be alone in that sentiment; countless friends the past few weeks seem to echo the refrain, "I'm just ... tired."

So here we are. Spring break. Except that as grown-ups, we don't get one. Luckily, we do get the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, which is the true harbinger of springtime and the Rite of Spring celebration for countless Jacksonians (and friends of Jackson ... or just friends of fun times). It's a sign that we have made it through the winter and headed into the newness of spring, and we are going to have a good time doing so.

This year, I marched for the first time with the newly formed Nugget League of Mayhem. I really can't think of a better way to bid farewell to the winter blahs than to traipse through the streets of downtown filled with thousands of happy revelers while wearing a fringed cape and a tiara.

Then as I sat awake trying to adjust to daylight-saving time, I realized that, as happens every year on the heels of St. Paddy's, springtime activities just keep coming. Local distillery Cathead (601-667-3038, catheadvodka.com) welcomes the season with the return of its honeysuckle vodka. Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-360-0090) will host a spring and summer guest chef series--the first installment last week featured Halle Magee from Satterfield's in Birmingham, Ala. Plus, restaurants all over town debut new spring food-and-drink menus. Fresh spring fruits and veggies appear at the farmers markets.

The Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515) opened a new exhibit, "Old Masters to Monet," March 23. The Crossroads Film Festival (crossroadsfilmfestival.com) brings fresh filmmakers to the state. And Easter in March this year brings an even earlier opportunity to quite literally shed the heaviness of winter and bust out the lighter, brighter spring clothes and accessories--as the displays and social media feeds of local boutiques remind us.

In April, even more events fill the social calendar, and it will grow ever warmer outside, which--coupled with the aforementioned daylight-saving time--means my favorite springtime activity: patio-sitting. No doubt, the open spaces at places like Babalu Tacos and Tapas (622 Duling Ave., 601-366-5757), Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633, and Que Sera Sera (2801 N. State St., 601-981-2520) will be packed with locals who've caught the spring fever.

So, maybe we don't get a spring break any longer. Maybe that's OK. Maybe all we need is a parade and a patio. They let us know that we've made it through the winter, and that it doesn't require a week off to go party in Cancun to take a little time out to let loose, enjoy ourselves and celebrate the new season.

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