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St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Taylor ready to rid city of snakes

Tom Taylor will be playing St. Patrick in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and his wife Sandy Taylor will be with him waving a flag. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Tom Taylor will be playing St. Patrick in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and his wife Sandy Taylor will be with him waving a flag. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Tom Taylor is set to pick up the shillelagh and banish hidden snakes from Natchez — all in the honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Taylor, who has Irish blood running through his veins, has lived in Natchez for the last eight years and said he is honored to serve as St. Patrick XXV and lead the Krewe of Killarney’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Natchez at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.

But after visiting Natchez consistently 20 to 30 years prior to their move from Fort Lauderdale, he and his wife, Sandy, who also has Irish roots, knew they wanted to get out of the big city and move to Natchez. However, Taylor had no idea he would be dressing in a green ensemble that would perhaps make his Irish ancestors proud.

“St. Patrick’s noted for running all of the snakes out of Ireland,” Taylor said. “So my mission is to run the snakes out of Natchez-Adams County.”

Taylor and Sandy have recently decorated their living room with Irish colors, while often playing Irish music throughout the day.

Taylor has been growing a beard all year for St. Patrick’s Day with no knowledge that he would eventually become St. Patrick.

However, growing a beard for Taylor is a solid tradition that he participated in while attending the Missouri University of Science and Technology where students grew their beard and would be judged for who had the best beard for St. Patrick’s Day.

“Getting in character is fun, really,” Taylor said. “I’ll have fun in the parade. I’ll go down, run off the snakes and let the kids pull my beard.”

Over the years, St. Patrick’s Day has become Taylor’s favorite holiday.

In addition to leading next Tuesday’s parade, Taylor plans to take a stroll through Main Street at 6 p.m. Saturday during the Second Saturday Downtown Art Walk, which will have a St. Patrick theme this weekend.

Taylor said he is ready for the role.

“Being Irish and knowing most of the guys who were St. Patrick, I never really thought the Krewe of Killarney would ask me to become St. Patrick,” Taylor said.

Taylor studied chemical engineering while attending the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology.

He graduated in 1962.

Taylor is a retired president of International Paint Company, which makes paint for 40 percent of ships around the world, including England.

He and his wife attend Jefferson Street United Methodist Church and own Taylor’d Yacht Charters, a company that assists clients with securing a charter yacht for a destination of their choice.

Taylor hopes to visit Ireland one day and trace his roots.

The Krewe of Killarney awards scholarships to area seniors annually. Pleasant Acre Day School also benefit from funds contributed by the krewe.

Line up for the parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Main Street at St. Mary Basilica’s Family Life Center, across from Memorial Park.

Parade participants will begin walking at 6:15 p.m. and travel down Main Street to the bandstand gazebo on the bluff.