Earlier this year my hairdresser told me (and yes, hairdressers are the best information sources in small towns!) that Rob and I had to check out the St. Patrick's Day parade in Jackson, MS in March. She said that people come from all over and that we would love it. I made a mental note and tried to look for more information about it. Bits and pieces here and there but I couldn't find any solid tips for the parade other than the date, history, location and that supposedly 75,000 people attend (which I thought had to be a typo but turned out to be true!)
We love adventures and decided to just check it out and see what all the fuss was about. Although the weather was less than ideal and we were not really prepared, the parade was so much fun! I can imagine it being it being a super fun way to celebrate spring on a gorgeous day and if, for some reason, we are still in Meridian next March or another March in the future, I would definitely go back (more prepared!)
Hal And Mal's Parade Tips
The Event is rain or shine!
The weather was really unfortunate this year, pouring down rain and cold, but the parade carried on. Check the weather and come prepared. Tents, umbrellas, rainboots, and warm clothes are a necessity on rainy parade days. Also I suggest bringing a change of socks/shoes in the car to change for toasty toes on your drive home.
The Parade starts at 1pm but the festivities start much earlier!
The best comparison for the parade that I've heard is that it is a cross between "Mardi Gras in New Orleans and an SEC football tailgate". While the parade starts at one, the pre and post parade are equally as important as the parade itself. Tents line the parade route early filled with spreads of foods, adult beverages, chairs, music, and other party essentials. While researching for our trip, I couldn't find any of the "rules" about alcohol but from experience the only rule I could see was "there are none!" It's free to set up your "plot" and I highly recommend it! Plus a tent can help protect you from the elements, whether that is sun, rain, or just beads! I recommend bringing your own spread of food but there are also food vendors every block or so.
Parking is easy
We paid $10 to park in a lot but there was tons of street parking. We parked behind the Trade Market and had a quick, easy walk to the parade route. When in doubt, ASK! There are police officers everywhere more than willing to help give directions.
Stick around for the after-parade party
After the parade, there is a giant street party with live music and entertainment outside of Hal and Mal's. While we were too cold and wet to stay this year, it seems like it would be a great time. The parade is free but the after-party does require paid wristbands (this year they were $20) and no coolers are allowed at the after-party!
Wear GREEN and have FUN!
This one might be an obvious but wear green and feel free to come decked-out. Costumes, glitter, beads, boas, and GREEN are everywhere so you don't have to worry about looking silly! Come with a good attitude, have fun, and be safe!