Entries are complete for March 17th’s First Ever Ninth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. The limit of 40 entries was reached early.
“Some old favorite entries and some newcomers fill the slate,” said Leysa Lowery of Visit Hot Springs, who coordinated the entry process. “We have had to limit the entries to 40, or else the parade would last all night.”
Some of the returning entries are: The International Order of Irish Elvi; the Lyon College Pipe Band; the Marching Irish Pickles, and the Fun City Barbershop Chorus.
New entries include: O’Sheas Handicap Irish Transit, a group from Ohio; Resistance Drum & Bugle Corps; Calling the Hogs Irish Style!, and The Blarney Tones sponsored by the Women’s Welcome Club of Hot Springs.
The internationally famous World’s parade falls on a weekend this year. As a result, festivities surrounding it will last all day.
“We have a full day of activities planned for the downtown Entertainment District, and we believe there’s five times as much fun in store for our guests,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the parade’s founding organizers. “We’ll have things going on from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., including the parade itself at 6:30 p.m.”
Arrison reminded parade-goers that no chairs are allowed in the crowd, and that the entertainment will block Broadway from Convention Boulevard on the south to Spring Street in the north most of the day.
Here is the schedule for the celebration:
• On Wednesday, March 14, at 10 a.m., there will be a wreath-laying at the gravesite of John King, the Irish-born American who was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor for valor. King died while being treated at the Army & Navy Hospital and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Hot Springs.
• On Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. — Entertainment District Opens (The Entertainment District encompasses Broadway between Spring Street and Convention Boulevard)
• 11:30 a.m. — Live band, Midnight Parade, will provide live music on the Bridge Street Stage at the intersection of Broadway and Bridge Street
• 2 p.m. — The Irish band, Pickled Beats, will perform on the Bridge Street Stage
• 4:30 p.m. — Romancing The Stone Contest in front of the Convention Center. Contestants compete for cash prizes to determine the most romantic kiss planted on the Arkansas Blarney Stone
• 6 p.m. — Pre- Parade Warm Up begins with the Famous Chicken doing his hilarious routines
• 6:30 p.m. — The First Ever Ninth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins, with 40 floats, bands, marching societies, etc., and with movie-TV star Tim Matheson as celebrity grand marshal
• 7:30 p.m. — Bridge Street/Broadway intersection reopened to pedestrian traffic
• 8 p.m. — Free street dance featuring classic rock band 38 Special on the Hill Wheatley Plaza Stage
• 11 p.m. — All events end and cleanup begins
The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which traverses world-famous Bridge Street — all 98 feet of it — has gained worldwide attention since the first edition was organized in 2003.
Tens of thousands of people flock to the downtown area each March 17 to celebrate the unfettered sense of fun and wackitude that the parade generates.
The parade has been recognized worldwide with numerous international awards. Just this year it 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.