JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Excitement is building, as we’re only two days away from Jackson’s big street party, Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade and Festival.
The city and organizers are preparing for the 36th annual green downtown gathering.
The St. Paddy’s Day Parade organizer Arden Barnett is counting down to one of the busiest times of the year for the festival organizer.
“These are banners that we’re using for the street dance,” said Arden Barnett, discussing preps for Saturday’s parade.
He began working with the parade in 1986, when about 30,000 people attended.
Thursday, they were preparing for 70,000 party-goers.
“We’ve got a new route as of last year. We started a new route that’s being kept this year,” Barnett explained. “We’re happy to be back on Capital Street, that was our ultimate goal."
Jackson city crews are sprucing up for the big party by cutting the grass at Pascagoula and Jefferson streets for parking.
Barricades are going up along the route starting at Court and State streets and ending at Hal and Mal’s.
The Sweet Potato Queens return to the festivities this year. The theme is 2019 a Magical Mystery Tour, and parade goers are excited about the giant street party.
“I’ve been coming for probably three or four years now,” said Jason Pickett of Raymond. “So it’s a lot of fun and just a good time to get outside and spend time with those you care about and those you love.”
“I’ve heard it’s huge. I’ve heard it’s a really big deal,” said Macon Morris, who recently moved to the area from South Carolina. “I’m excited to see what it’s all about. I’m looking forward to seeing all the people out here, drinking some green beer and have a good time."
The benefactor of the giant spring party is the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.
At least $10,000 is raised annually for the hospital.
The parade begins at 1:00 p.m. at Court and Capital streets.
Jackson police will close the streets along the parade route at 11:30 a.m. and will remain stationed until the parade ends.