I haven’t been to the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in years. Rather than sharing green beer with a rowdy bunch of revelers, I prefer to sip green tea in the privacy of my own home.
The best time I had at the parade was many years ago — back in my single days. I went with a friend. We stayed stone-cold sober the whole day and watched the drunks make fools of themselves. It was quite entertaining.
I vaguely remember pinching a bunch of guys who weren’t wearing green. My friend, the attorney, cautioned we could be prosecuted for simple assault. None of the guys seemed to mind, though. I also remember screaming for beads, only to find someone had thrown me a jelly doughnut. The theme was Elvis that year. Ahh, those were the days.
Now, I’m just interested in the economic impact of all the debauchery. I spoke to Malcolm White recently, and he was still basking in the green glow. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the craziness. The small, rag-tag parade has turned into a multimillion dollar affair.
The crowd was 70,000 strong this year. Mississippians — far and wide — flock home each year for the St. Patrick’s Day event, and they bring dollar bills with them. They stay in hotels. They eat at the restaurants. They buy green hats, green sunglasses, green flowers, you name it, and yes, they drink green beer… lots of it! Estimates are that the parade has an economic impact of around $7.5 million.
Of course, they also leave a big ole mess. Malcolm said the City of Jackson, Hinds County Sheriff’s office, and private companies work diligently to get things back in order by church time on Sunday. I just hope all the revelers got back home safely.
As for me, I’ll stick with the green tea, and my pinching days are certainly over, but I’m delighted to see Jackson businesses get a boost from the event. Apparently, this was a record year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Talk about the luck of the Irish!
So, thanks, Malcolm! Keep up the good work.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her website is www.newper.com.