Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Queens tell Jackson to take this parade and shove it, they ain't marchin' here no more

WLBT broke this yesterday evening, but JFP just posted a more in-depth piece today.  Jill Conner Browne, head Sweet Potato Queen, has determined that Downtown Jackson is too small for her Queens.  She apparently thinks the Renaissance strip mall in Ridgeland is more fitting for her group.  (Yeah, Madison County's gonna love their family-friendly act.)  Feedback on this has been rather negative for the SPQs, but I don't expect Her Highness to go back on her decision. 

After it's all said and done, the SPQ's are Jill's thing, so if she wants to wreck it, that's up to her.  My analysis is that the vast majority of the crowds at the annual Mal's St. Paddy's Parade show up for reasons other than the Queens.  Namely, they come Downtown to celebrate creativity, the emergence of Spring, and to just plain party.  With respect to the women who travel in from around the country (and world) to be a part of the SPQ vibe, I think a good number of them won't like the change.  For example, I ran into several dozen Queens from around the country Friday night at Hal & Mal's, and they were rather disgruntled over not having the annual Parade Eve SPQ party there.  (They all jumped in cabs and came down from the County Line Hilton, where they'd been cooped-up by Her Highness.)  I'm pretty certain they weren't the only ones.

In the end, I can't help but think this will be a minor loss for Jackson, and a major loss for Jill.


Dave Carner said...

Well said. At first blush this sounds worse than it is. The SPQs were becoming less and less the focal point of the festivities (perhaps the reason why they want a change of venue), and frankly I think that giving them a suburban strip mall to do their thing in is more befitting of their station.

Jackson's done so well in building this parade I think it's high time that the parade be more about it than any one group/krewe. Hate I missed it this year.

Jax said...

guess i'll have to skip out on the jackson paddys day parade next year. even better, i can go to the SPQ parade and then have both PF Changs and Peppers to choose from to eat at afterwards! Of course, that morning I'll need to go check and see if Williams Sonoma has any good sales going on.

B. Allen said...

Matt, I stole this from you and put it on my site. If this is not ok, sue me.


jurisdeacon said...

Actually, Jax, you can do BOTH. If my understanding is right, the SPQ strip mall parade will be on the 4th Saturday in March. Which means they will expect people to travel from all over to Ridgeland, MS to parade around a 2 year old mall, 1.5 weeks after St. Patrick's day. Good luck to them with that.

Jan said...

The Parade was never scheduled to be held at Renaissance at Colony Park Shopping Center as was reported. JCB is correcting the media reports to say that SPQ's are joining an already scheduled City of Ridgeland parade. Renaissance is not involved in the event.

Matt Eichelberger said...

Ben, anytime, brother.

Thanks, Jan! That makes more sense. But I'm left wondering how y'all's property got wrapped up in this mess.