Mal's St Paddy's Day Parade and the Sweet Potato Queens
St Paddy's day - Southern Style
You might have heard about the crazy St Paddy's day parade we have every year down in Jackson, MS. If not, the big stars are the Sweet Pototo Queens (left) and their millions (okay thousands) of adoring fans called "wannabees".
I will let you read more about the queens on their site so I don't get slapped (they're pretty particular....because they can be!) just go read about them here
The whole thing is nuts but it is a hoot too and that makes for quite a party! Women and their "Spud Studs" get to dress all out in sequins and bling, and act like queens for a good cause - the Blair E Batson Hospital for Children.
Jill Conner Browne is a humorous and fun-loving person who has written several best selling books. She likes to say "More is More" and she and her SPQ organization get more hilarious and fun every year!
Jill's story is funny but there is a serious note to it. She knew down in her heart she would be successful when she got to do what she loved, which is to write in her own southern humorous style. She is a great example of how "doing what you love" is a true avenue to success.
Jill Conner Browne announced that the SPQ's will have their own parade starting in 2011! Huge news! They have grown so much that the parade must go on without them. Wow!
The SPQ "Million Queen March" weekend will begin Wednesday, March 23 and conclude Sunday, March 27, 2011. Most of the events will take place in the Fondren District, a historical area north of Downtown close to the Blair E Batson Children's hospital. The SP queens and wannabe's will march at night! How nice!
In many ways, the Fondren District of Jackson is like the "Austin" of Mississippi. Weird and wonderful~! We just moved here last month, and were able to walk from our front door to see the Sweet Potato Queens' "Zippety Doo Dah" parade right on our own corner! It was especially nice to see "Aunt Faye", the 100 year old "Queen" of the parade! You go, sister! 0h...l and a special shout out to the "Fleur de Lulu" queens, one of which gave me a boa! I felt so special! Thanks Hunny!
Queen's last dance with Mal's Parade
Before the Sweet Potato Queens started doin' their own thang in Fondren. This was the last year the two parades were combined.
The Nitty Gritty on the Queens' new Parade
Zippity Doo Dah Parade in Fondren
First year's schedule
Thursday night: "Doo Dahin' in fondren" Think "fondren after five" amped up on excitement. Although most Sweet Potato QueenÂ® Wannabes would not 'git here til' Friday, Fondren's funkiness geared for locals and queens alike. The MARKET in Fondren, expanded to include Craftsman Guild members. Our "Official Participating Merchants" featured a scavenger hunt and the first round of our Queens Art & Design Krawl.
Friday: The day to shop for the SPQÂ® Wannabes after their Big Hat Luncheon at Sal & Mookie's. With buses shuttling guests to and from their hotels between 11 and 5 merchants enticing the Wannabees with Bluebird Sidewalk Sales. SPQÂ® Wannabes looked for the bluebird stickers and yard signs denoting our "Participating Merchants". Round Two of the Queens Art & Design Krawl moved visitors throughout the district.
Saturday: The big day! The MARKET in Fondren opened 8-4 throughout the central business district to draw strollers to all of our regular businesses. Featured were members of the Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild. Throughout the day we encouraged the Bluebird Sidewalk Sale to continue as shoppers followed their Bluebird Scavenger Hunt Maps from one participating merchant to another. The Queens Art & Design Krawl enters its final leg.
The Sal & Mookie's Children's Carnival operated from 10:30 until 3 in the Green below the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. In addition to lots of activities for the whole family, there was a silent auction from 10:30 til 2:00, the ClearChannel Stage featured musical entertainment throughout the day, and Sal & Mookie's Pie and Ice Cream Eating Contests were a blast!
On the ClearChannel Stage awards were presented for the best decorated Fondren Unzipped Porta-potty and the Bluebird Scavenger Hunts. Then the grand prize of the day was presented as one lucky contestant in the Patty Peck Hon-da-doo-dah Blue Car Give Away selected the key which unlocked a brand new Honda Insight to drive home.
At 3:30 a drum line led all carnival goers from the carnival through Fondren over to Brown's Fine Art & Framing where the Earth Angels performed on their parking lot.
The signature event of the weekend started the parade down Old Canton Road at dusk. That's right, that's factual, the Zippity Doo Dah Â® Parade started at dusk. Led by a marching band with Grand Marshall Dr. Blair E. Batson following in the lead car the Sweet Potato QueenÂ® Wannabe's, decorated golf car floats from around the community, and then the Boss Queen herself wound through the community in the first ever nighttime Zippity Doo DahÂ® Parade.
All this activity is for one purpose: it's for the "children" of Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. All proceeds are earmarked for that cause alone, and we are going to have fun at the same time!
The official website for the weekend is: ZippityDoodahParade.com. There you will find the most up to date information about all aspects of the weekend. In one place you can get the details, the forms, the calendar of events, and volunteer information needed to enhance your participation.
Zippitee Do-Dahlin' it in Fondren - Year two of the Fondren Festival
Jill Conner Brown - is the Original Sweet Potato Queen!
What Happens in-between St Paddy's day
and the rest of the year?
The queens are good-doers all year long! One of my favorites is their participation in the "Bras for Breast Cancer" event held by local radio stations in Jackson every year.
They have bras donated from everywhere and take them to the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, where they are strung all across the Old Mississippi bridge. The gently used bras go to Mississippi Women's shelters. But the best part is that The Riverwalk Casino donates a buck a bra to the American Cancer Society!
Believe it or not, they add up fast!
This year (2010) you have until Friday, October 29th to get your bras to one of the drop off locations or mail to JAN MICHAELS, CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO, 1375 BEASLEY ROAD, JACKSON, MS. 39206
Bras Across the Bridge
Bras for a Cause
Ladies at Q105 radio station hook the bras together, then take them out to the Old Mississippi River Bridge at Vicksburg.
Bras are Perfect for Breast Cancer Awareness
Queens make a difference!
There is even a contest for the most decorated bras! What a blast!
Random Pics - All years!Click thumbnail to view full-size
2012 Mal's St Paddy's Day Parade - O'Tux Society
The charming fellas hand out corsages and fine beads to the ladies, and their female counterparts dance in the streets!
Articles and other stuff about the parade (s) etc - and the people who love them
- [Publisher’s Note] Ode to Fondren - Columns - Jackson Free Press: Jackson, Mississippi
News, arts, events and music coverage for Jackson, Mississippi