Kimbro to portray St. Patrick for annual parade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Please call him O’Rosco for the next couple of days &045; the man in the green lam suit, that is. Dave &uot;Rosco&uot; Kimbro has assumed the role of St. Patrick, and on Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, he will play the part in the spirit of the Irish, he said.

Kimbro will lead the annual Krewe of Killarney parade in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Lineup begins on Main Street at Memorial Park at 5 p.m., with the parade beginning at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to join the parade, he said.

&uot;It’s a walking parade down Main to the gazebo,&uot; he said. &uot;I am so excited about it.&uot;

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Kimbro traces his Irish blood to James Moore, an ancestor on his father’s side of the family, who was born in 1735 in Ireland and came to America to settle in South Carolina.

As St. Patrick XV, Kimbro follows a long, distinguished line of Natchez Irishmen to play the role, including Tony Byrne, St. Patrick VII, who was instrumental in the selection of the 2005 portrayer of the patron saint.

&uot;Rosco can put on the Irish brogue, and he has been involved in the krewe for a long time,&uot; Byrne said. &uot;He was floored and honored to be asked to be St. Patrick.&uot;

The krewe was formed about 16 years ago with simple goals, Byrne said. &uot;We raise some money for scholarships and for Pleasant Acre Day School and Holy Family School,&uot; he said. &uot;But we have only two meetings a year. It was designed that way. We do some good, but we don’t meet constantly and don’t compete with other krewes or the civic clubs.&uot;

Kimbro likes the way the Krewe of Kilarney operates, also. As a popular radio talk and music show host for WQNZ 95-Country, he is well known for supporting causes, events and charitable events through his radio program. Off the air, he continues the role on a personal basis.

Ruth Powers, krewe president, said Kimbro has been helpful with publicity and in other ways almost from the founding of the organization. &uot;We are proud to have him as our St. Patrick,&uot; she said.

Dressing for the parade will be part of the fun, Kimbro said. &uot;I didn’t have anything suitable to wear to be St. Patrick,&uot; he said. &uot;One year I painted my beard green.&uot;

He called Layne Taylor, executive director of Natchez Little Theatre, for advice about a costume. &uot;Layne referred me to a rental place on the Gulf Coast. They sent me a green lame’ tuxedo with tails.&uot;

For many years, he has thrown green money, Kimbro said. &uot;It’s pennies painted green, sometimes with glitter,&uot; he said. This year he has 500 pennies, all minted in 2005, to throw. They will be green on one side and orange on the other &045; &uot;the colors of Ireland,&uot; he said.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade is an American tradition, begun in Boston in 1762 as a way for the Irish immigrants to remember their homeland.

Historians believe St. Patrick was born in Scotland or Wales about A.D. 370. His parents were Romans living in Britain.

Kimbro will wear a nametag on Thursday to recognize the saint’s birth name, Maewyn Succat.

St. Patrick was sold into slavery in Ireland, worked as a shepherd and began during those years to have visions and dreams. He entered a monastery in France to study for the priesthood and returned to Ireland as a bishop in about A.D. 432.

His good works, humility and spirited personality brought him success in his missions. In a period of fasting on a mountain, St. Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes in Ireland into the sea. Ireland has no snakes; the story is seen as symbolic of his having driven paganism out of Ireland.

Natchez does have snakes, and Kimbro as St. Patrick will follow the lead of other St. Patrick portrayers in driving snakes out of Natchez and into the Mississippi River. Kimbro said he might have a little surprise for all those who gather for the snake purging at the gazebo.

&uot;We invite everyone to our parade. It’s going to be fun,&uot; he said.

Powers said the parade and the krewe are open to anyone who wants to join. &uot;You don’t have to be Irish, it’s not for just one group or any particular church. It’s for everyone who wants to join and have some fun and help children at the same time.&uot;