Festivities kick off for Mal's St. Paddy's Parade weekend - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Festivities kick off for Mal's St. Paddy's Parade weekend

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By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - One of the Capital City's most popular events returns this weekend.  Mal's St. Paddy's Parade will draw thousands to downtown Jackson Saturday, but in its 29th year there are some changes coming.

"A lot of good friends, good libations, some good music and kind of get your weekend kicked off," said P.J. Lee with O' Tux Society.

Hal and Mal's was already rocking and rolling for the Hal and O'Mal'ley's Shamrock Bash.  It was the first one, a live music event to start the fun weekend.

"This is the one time Jackson beats everybody else with a party because there's nothing else like it around," said Lee.

The floats, the beads, the crowds Mal's St. Paddy's Parade has become a national sensation.

"This parade is one of the top five parades in the nation.  So its one thing to have a parade, it's another to have the top five parade.  So you're looking at with last years figures over 60,000 people, $6.5 million in economic impact," said Marika Cackett with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For the first time in 29 years there will be something missing.  The Sweet Potato Queens have started their own parade in Fondren to be held next Saturday.  How will this work for Jackson?

"That's great.  That's like bigger bang for your buck now you have two huge events.  Let's face it, the Sweet Potato Queens are international.  The queens have taken over.  They are everywhere.  International attention two weeks in a row?  That's huge for Jackson!" exclaimed Cackett.

Mal's St. Paddy's Parade starts at 1:00 p.m.  You can watch the floats as they move from the corner of Court and South State Streets, then turn left at Capitol Street.  The parade takes another left at Lamar Street and left at Court to go back to State Street.

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