So the decadence of St. Paddy's is looming on all of Jackson. In a few days, downtown will be turned into one of the largest spectacles of in all of the Southeast. For those who don't know, Jackson has the fourth or fifth largest St. Paddy's day parade in the country. Here, unlike other places, St. Paddy's is a little different due to the Sweet Potato Queens. Many moons ago, one of my favorite bars, Hal and Mals, decided to celebrate St. Paddy's day by hosting a parade. Flash forward a bit, and this lady, Jill Connor Browne, created a sensation of a book entitled "The Sweet Potato Queen's Book of Love" and subsequent books after. Now I haven't read the books, but they are a celebration of campy female pride in dressing badly and about how fun trashiness can be. Ok, I really don't know what they are about, but I'm sure it has something to do with bad clothes and southern women. Anyway, these books were a hit, and now people come from all over to hang out with the Sweet Potato Queens, march in the parade in costumes and really get tanked before 3 pm. I'm planning to go the parade for the first time and I'm hoping to see the sheer spectacle it all is.
In the past few years, a good friend and I have had a debate regarding St. Paddy's day. The traditional mascot is the Irish Leprechaun. Now, everyone loves leprechauns, but our debate has been, which leprechaun? There are two camps to this argument. On one side, you have the Disney friendly, Happy O'Lucky. Happy is the congenial, Irish wisdom leprechaun that is touted to young children. He is the leprechaun off the cereal commercials, in children's films and appears on lunchboxes. As my friend says, "Happy is the Gallic, jovial, lucky charms rendition." Now, on the other hand, there is another version. This is the more adult version. My friend calls him, "The surly, bar fighting, acerbic leprechaun." His name? Shanks McFadden. Shanks is the football mascot, the leprechaun from the movie "Leprechaun." You don't really know if Shanks has a pot of gold, but he does a broken beer bottle he is about to stab you with. This debate has raged for a while, with no satisfactory conclusion.
We invite everyone to weigh in.