Central Mississippi’s annual celebration of Spring has been described as a “green Mardi Gras” and as a “lighthearted homecoming where everyone is king-and-queen-for a-day.” It is also a celebration of the rebirth of Mississippi’s capital city, a joyous observance of what is “good and encouraging” about the heart of our state. It is a day where sense of humor and sense of place rule the day. It is a time to honor the good work of the UMC’s Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. This rambling, outrageous, hilarious ride, starting and ending at Jackson’s favorite gathering place—Hal & Mal’s—will from this day forward be known as “Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade” in honor of Hal White.
Hal (Harold Taylor White, Jr.) was born on March 13, 1949, in a modest apartment home on the campus of Perkinston Junior College. He was the first born son of Harold Sr. and Nelda Gene, and big brother to Mal. Hal was athletic, approachable and a naturally affable kid. He was an outstanding Boy Scout, but never much of a student. He attended Northeast Community College and Mississippi State University, and learned to make a living by working hard and being nice to people.
As a self-taught chef and master soup meister, Hal was influenced by Gulf Coast and New Orleans culture and foodways. He took what he knew, studied what inspired him and worked hard to put his stamp or touch on it. He was beloved by the many people who knew him, worked with him and who had the honor of being in his company. He gave more than he took.
He loved his family and friends, his many communities, sports and the Parade. He was the natural leader of the ancient and venerable O’Tux Society, and it is only fitting that this parade and festival should now be dedicated to his good will and good nature.
Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade will live on to be many things to many people, but regardless of the words or descriptions one chooses to employ, it’s really hard to ignore its humble beginnings in Downtown Jackson, in 1983. Today’s parade, street dance, children’s activities, run, pet parade, festivals, and all the other creative components under the banner of Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade are permitted by the City of Jackson and Hinds County.
Most festivities are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to participate!