The end of the rainbow is so close we can almost taste the gold, and there’s no better place to find it than at the First-Ever 19th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Hot Springs.
The annual parade will be held on March 17 on the mere 98-foot Bridge Street in the center of downtown with an extensive lineup of entertainment. Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and a founder of the world-famous parade, boasts the many names that will be in attendance.
“We have floats, a marching band, a puppeteer performing group and, of course, comedian Cheech Marin as our celebrity grand marshal and ‘Machete’ star Danny Trejo as our official starter,” Arrison says. “Ours is a family-friendly parade, and we have plenty to entertain the kids as well as the adults.
“We have entries like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who have been a featured part of our parade for what seems like forever, and the World’s Largest potato on wheels, mixed in with newcomers like St. Patrick and Shenanigans, a group of 18 friends from Michigan who heard about our parade and decided they just had to be a part of it. The Cowboys Cheerleaders are sending 12 members to whip up crowd enthusiasm all along the parade route, and we are eager to see them back in Hot Springs.”
Also in attendance will be Arkansas Razorbacks football coach Sam Pittman and his wife, Jamie, as the king and queen of the parade.
“We have to limit the number of entries to keep the parade at a manageable size,” says Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs. “As we resume the parade at its full scope and glory after two years of reduced size because of the pandemic, we believe we have a little something for everyone.”
The much-anticipated parade began in 2003 and attracts crowds of roughly 30,000 people annually. Following the parade, there will be a free public concert on the Bridge Street stage by the legendary Foghat. On the same stage Friday evening, March 18, the rock band Sugar Ray will perform. Chairs and coolers will not be permitted at either concert.
“The COVID pandemic forced us to drastically curtail the size of the parade in 2020 and 2021,” Arrison says, “but this year we are anticipating fans to return in pre-covid numbers. We even added a third live leprechaun to our lineup to entertain the fans on Central Avenue, Bridge Street itself and Malvern Avenue past the official finish line.”
The official lineup for the 2022 parade is:
- The Hot Springs Fire Department’s hook-and-ladder truck and honor guard.
- Danny (Machete) Trejo, official starter.
- The Fun City Chorus singing Irish favorites.
- Nice Dreams Ice Cream Truck float.
- Chamber of Commerce Shaken Shamrocks.
- Tim Culbreth and Cindy Baswell, past parade king and queen.
- King Sam Pittman and Queen Jamie Pittman.
- Garvan Gardens’ World’s Shortest Car.
- Spa City Tappers Wild Irish Roses.
- Paw Patrol and fishing champion Charlie Evans from the TV kiddie show.
- Taco Mama’s Love Machine float.
- Celebrity Grand Marshal Cheech Marin
- The Big Cheech Puppeteers performing group.
- Alliance Rubber Fighting Irish float.
- The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
- Oaklawn Lucky Charms float.
- Hot Springs Renaissance Faire Pirates, Saints and Patrick float.
- Miss Arkansas Whitney Williams.
- Hurst Concrete Leprechaun Laughter float.
- Mountain Pine Pride of the Red Devils marching band.
- Theta Phi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Irish American float.
- 100.9 KLAZ KLAZoo Band marching band.
- Paddy Wagon float.
- Riser Ford Four-time Bathtub Racing Champs float.
- St. Patrick and the Shenanigans Straight Outta Dublin Float.
- Boogies Late Night Leprechauns float.
- LakePointe City Church Leprechaun Rock float.
- The Pocket Theatre Fields of Ireland float.
- Embassy Suites Hot Springs St. Patrick Pushes Out the Snakes float.
- Bob Pierce – Golf St. Patrick “Driving” the Snakes Out of Ireland performance group.
- Spa Running Festival and Spa Pacers Catch Me If You Can float.
- Big City Takedown Slainte float/performing group.
- Magic Springs Magically Delicious tiny old-time taxi.
- Feelin’ Lucky Big Axe Battleground float.
- International Order of the Elvi Irish Elvis impersonators.
- The World’s Biggest Potato on Wheels.
- Keer Security, Inc., We Have the Pot of Gold Secure float.