JACKSON, Miss.- Malcolm White’s idea to bring some fun to the city of Jackson has turned into one of the biggest and most original parades in the country. The year was 1983. Malcolm was sitting in a bar chatting with his buddy Rod, who was, at the time, a writer for the Clarion Ledger. He had grown tired of the city of Jackson being a suitcase city where people came for business and left to go have fun. He mentions the idea of a St. Patrick’s Day parade to Rod, and the next day, an article was run in the Clarion Ledger making the announcement of the first annual Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade. Malcolm then obtained a permit from the city, grabbed a few buddies and strolled up Capitol Street.
22 years and 22 parades have come and gone since that day, and it has grown into the single biggest event that truly belongs to Jackson and to the state of Mississippi. Malcolm White sat down with News Mississippi and explained his rationality behind the parade.
“When I moved to Jackson, there was almost nothing going on. We had SEC football, which we’ve unfortunately lost, we had the state fair, we had the Dixie National Rodeo, and that was it. There were no music festivals, there were no parades, no carnivals. And I just knew if I was going to live here… I just decided I was going to create some fun events if this is where I was going to make my home… So I decided, one day sitting at the bar, talking to a journalist who worked for the Clarion Ledger named Rod Cauthen. I said ‘I’m thinking about having a parade’, and the next day in the paper he wrote a column that said I was having a parade. So, I kinda had to fulfill it…. Jackson had always been a place that had been a business place, a kind of family place, and everyone went out of town to have fun, and I thought we could change that by having fun here in town. And that was one of the big ideas that I had.”
The parade rolls Saturday, rain or shine, at 1 p.m. beginning and ending at Hal & Mal’s in Downtown Jackson.
You can hear Malcolm White’s EXCLUSIVE interview with News Mississippi here.