Hot Springs’ globally renowned World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade has added another international recognition to its growing list of awards and notices. This time it’s U.S. News Travel, the online posting by the former U.S. News & World Report Magazine, now known as U.S. News.
The parade is No. 8 on the publication’s list of Top 10 America’s Best St. Patrick’s Day Parades.
Of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the publication says: “While this city has the youngest St. Patrick’s Day parade on this list, Hot Springs has been routinely given the distinction as the strangest since its inception in 2003.
“Recent participants include the Irish Elvises and the San Diego Chicken, among others. It also receives the title of the shortest procession of note, with a route on Bridge Street that is only 98 feet long. Featuring bagpipers, floats and appearances from the Parade King and Queen, the Hot Springs parade is presided over by a celebrity Grand Marshal, who keeps the crowd on their toes throughout the event. Previous Grand Marshals include Mario Lopez and Pauly Shore. We are not making this up.”
The introduction to the Top 10 listing says, “Of all the holidays that we celebrate, St. Patrick’s Day may be one of the most unusual. Think about it: we’re celebrating the patron saint of Ireland who we really don’t know all that much about. And stranger still, we honor this mysterious Saint Patrick by wearing green and consuming vast quantities of beer. And somewhere along the line, someone decided that people not wearing green should receive swift punishment in the form of pinches?
“When you put it all together, it’s a bizarre holiday tradition. But this may be exactly why Americans have embraced it since the beginning.”
Other cities’ parades listed in the publication are: No. 1, Boston; No. 2, Chicago; No. 3, New York City; No. 4, Savanna, Ga.; No. 5, San Francisco; No. 6, Dublin, Ohio; No. 7, Philadelphia; No. 8, Hot Springs; No. 9, Scranton, Pa.; No. 10, Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s entirely fitting that The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is honored by U.S. News for our ‘strangeness,’” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “From its very inception Hot Springs’ parade has celebrated fun, zaniness and uniqueness, and this recognition fits right in with the atmosphere that will fill Hot Springs March 17 when we have the First Ever Ninth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
This year’s celebrity grand marshal will be Tim Matheson (Otter from “Animal House”) and music for the street dance immediately following the parade will be provided by the classic rock band .38 Special.