Jackson prepared for 28th annual Mal's St. Paddy's Parade - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson prepared for 28th annual Mal's St. Paddy's Parade

By  Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A screw here and a touch of paint there, the "Rude Men" are put the finishing touches on their float inspired by the birth of Venus.

"We've gone in Speedos to 42 foot dragons, but this is a pretty good float," said float creator Trace Alston.

It also comes with a few surprises.  "That's naughty cupid, naughty cupid," Alston pointed out the water spraying from the dressed up doll.

Fenian's Irish Pub is a hot destination before and after the big parade.  They were busy preparing for the crowds. "We've got every staff member working for us, trying to help us set up to have this party out in the parking lot out here 15,000 square feet.  We're just excited and ready for it.  Just hoping the weather holds out for us," said Fenian's General Manager Damon Hogben.

There is a slight chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday afternoon, but the parade's founder is not worried.  "There is no amount of rain that would dampen the spirit of what we're doing," said Malcolm White.

The annual Sweet Potato Queen Ball kicks off the festivities, but this year Hal and Mal's hosted their own party while the queens' party at the Hilton hotel.

"We're excited about it.  We miss, we love Hal and Mal's.  We had no choice.  We got too big," said Sweet Potato Queen Boss Queen Jill Conner Browne.

Something different parade goers will notice this year is the Million Queen March will not lead off the parade.  "It's more that they will be mixed in with the parade and Jill and her queens are going to be at the end. I think it is going to be different and exciting," said White.

"We'll be last like Sanata Claus and we got 10 billion throws, so we'll be throwing and throwing," said Browne.

Proceeds from the Sweet Potato Queen events and Mal's Saint Paddy's Parade go to benefit the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital.

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