3 on the Road: Natchez St. Patrick's Parade - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on the Road: Natchez St. Patrick's Parade

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
NATCHEZ, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Saturday is Saint Patrick’s Day and Natchez is awaiting one of its annual traditions. It’s the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

I was invited to participate a few years ago. I had a great time. No matter who you are, it’s fun to be Irish once a year for that walk down Main Street in Natchez.

The Bells of St. Mary’s in downtown Natchez ring at the end of Saturday Mass as a signal for everyone to start lining Main Street, and for the Krew of Killarney and assistants to gather in parade formation beside the church for the annual St. Patrick’s parade.

The idea is that if you want to walk in the parade, you must attend mass. But since Miz Jo and I were invited down to Natchez to participate by one of the former St. Patricks, Judge Charlie Vess and his wife Corkey, him being an Episcopal and me being a Baptist, we decided to hang out in Bowie’s Tavern until parade time instead.

Getting organized to march is half the fun of marching. It seems to be a time for visiting and seeing people you haven’t see for a long time maybe and dressing up in an outlandish costume. And being green for a day. The Krew of Killarney does more than the annual parade and isn’t just full of Blarney.

Parade Participants: We’re all Irish today. We’re all here for fun. Everything we do, all the money we raise is for charity.

St. Patrick heads the parade. It’s an honor bestowed on 22 Natchezians so far. The duty of St. Patrick is to lead the parade through downtown Natchez to the gazebo on the bluff where he will then, cast the snakes out of Natchez.

Father David O’Connor, the pastor of St. Mary’s, who, by the way, is actually FROM Ireland is also at the head end of the parade. And he thought he knew me.

"I think I remember seeing you at that, (pauses) What’s that bar over there," said Father O'Connor.

"Now I am going to go and chase the snakes once again, we have to do this every year. They keep coming back," said St. Patrick.

And with that bit of ceremony, Natchez is snake-free again for another year as St. Patrick shakes the snakes off his shillelagh at the back of the gazebo toward Louisiana. And as some friends sing happy birthday to ME, one of the few real Patricks IN the parade, former St. Pat Bob McWilliams sums up the day:

"If you’re not an Irish, you don’t know what you’re missing," said McWilliams.

The annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is Saturday Afternoon starting at 6:15 St at Mary’s in Natchez.

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