Zippity Doo Dah Parade lights up Fondren - - Jackson, MS

Zippity Doo Dah Parade lights up Fondren

The streets of Fondren were lit up Saturday night for the Sweet Potato Queen's debut of the Zippity Doo Dah Parade.  The hour long parade rolled at dusk down Old Canton Road and then up State Street.  It benefited the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital.

Hundreds lined Old Canton Road and State Street for the first ever Zippity Doo Dah Parade.  It's the Sweet Potato Queens' solo event, a departure from Mal's St. Paddy's Parade.  The all day festivities shined a big spot light on Fondren. 

"This is the most exciting thing ever.  I've been in Fondren all day since early this morning walking around the market, playing in the kids carnival.  It's just been a fabulous day and the queens have renamed in FUNdren," said Boss Queen Jill Conner Browne.

The evening parade came complete with marching bands, light up costumes and floats.

"When the sun goes down and we turn on this float it looks like Disney World," said Browne.

Her Sweet Potato Queen movement has stretched across the world.  About 1,000 wanna-bes flocked to the capital city this weekend including one special man in a kilt.  He is the writer of Braveheart and the director of Secretariat Randall Wallace.

"Jill Conner Browne is one of my favorite people in life.  She just invented her own life and done it in a way that's empowering and positive and full of love for everyone.  I just came to celebrate this," said Wallace.  He has walked in the parade for 8 years.

Celebration seemed to be the key word, especially for Deb Schneller from Fort Collins, Colorado.  She missed the parade last year due to a fight with cancer.

"Last year we found out I had two different kinds of cancer.  I truly believe it is the love and the good wishes of these people that sustained me through quite a bit of my treatment," said Schneller.

It makes sense that a parade that lights up so many faces also brightens up the streets of Fondren.

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