HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The Kilties are coming. Springfield, Missouri’s, Central High School Kiltie Drum and Bugle Corps has notified Visit Hot Springs that the group has been approved by the school to march in the First Ever 20th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17 in downtown Hot Springs.
“We are really pleased that the Kilties will join our zany little parade this year,” said Visit Hot Springs Marketing Director Bill Solleder. “Although they have a Scottish background, they’ll fit right in the fun-filled atmosphere that has been the
overall theme for our 98-foot parade since 2003. I know our 30,000 spectators will enjoy their presence in Hot Springs.”
Angelique B. Groven, the Kilties’ director, said, “Every year the Kilties try to take a trip out of state, and in my research I fell in love with Hot Springs’ event. It looks like a fun, energetic atmosphere.”
“We are the oldest, all-female, uniformed, Scottish Drum and Bugle Corps in the nation,” Groven said. “We were established in 1926 and we are in our 97th year of consecutive marching. We are so incredibly excited that our school district has approved our proposal to travel to Hot Springs.”
“I did a little bit of research about kilt-wearing,” Visit Hot Springs CEO and parade founder Steve Arrison said. “What I found is that the Irish wear kilts just like the Scots do. In Scotland, tartans used in making their kilts represent clans, and in Ireland, the tartans in their kilts represent the various counties in Ireland.
“The Kilties will fit right in on 98-foot Bridge Street along with our traditional leprechauns and green hats.”
Groven said the Central High School Kilties “were established in Springfield in 1926 by Music Director (and Scotsman) Dr. R. Ritchie Robertson. His vision to provide opportunities for young women in music resulted in what is currently the oldest, all-female, uniformed, Scottish drum and bugle corps in the United States.”
She said, “The Kilties have marched consistently in the intervening 97 years, seeing the entirety of World War II, the desegregation of schools and a worldwide pandemic. The current corps are led by Directors Angie Groven and Rachael Conner and Majorette Zoe Malega.”
Groven said the Kilties would perform “one of our Scottish-inspired dances” in the Hot Springs parade.
Already announced for the parade are country music star Justin Moore as celebrity grand marshal, film star Chris McDonald (Shooter McGavin in “Happy Gilmore”) as official starter, the PAW Patrol TV characters especially for the kids, and crowd favorites The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
The world-famous 98-foot parade on Bridge Street, the shortest street in the world in everyday use, began in 2003 and annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, marching units such as Paddy O’Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as other unique units cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs.
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.