The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back for its 15th year in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This year’s parade grand marshal will be *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone. Jon Heder, known for his role as Napoleon in the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” will be starting this year’s parade.
The parade will be tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The official length of the parade route is only 98 feet; a measuring will take place before the parade.
This year’s line-up includes the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, hula-hooper Katie Sunshine and the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Junior Mariah McClellan says she is excited about this year’s line-up.
“I don’t really get that into St. Patrick’s Day, but this sounds like a cool thing to say you went to, and who doesn’t want to see Joey Fatone?” McClellan said.
The First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 2004 and made St. Patrick’s Day history. The idea started with an Arkansan of Irish descendant, sitting in a pub on the World’s Shortest Street in Everyday Use in Hot Springs, according to the event website.
Since then, the crowd has grown to more than 30,000 spectators each year. Many have tried to take the title of “Shortest Parade” away from the town. However, according to the event website, parade officials say that they will do whatever it takes to keep the title in Hot Springs, even if they have to march in place.
Junior Evelyn Green plans to attend the day’s festivities. Green said it is something fun to do outside of Searcy and that it is always nice to get out and encounter something new.
“Throughout my time at Harding I have really enjoyed discovering all the little things that Arkansas has to offer,” Green said. “There are not a whole bunch of big things that go on, but there are all these little, quirky, fun events that are fun to travel to. It makes for a fun day — a fun memory and I think this is one of those things.”
In addition to the parade, the annual kissing contest “Romancing the Stone” will take place at the Arkansas Blarney Stone, which began in 2006. The stone was reportedly discovered by a leprechaun in the forests that surround Hot Springs and is placed on display in front of the Hot Springs Convention Center. In 2008, a king and queen of the parade were added and are selected each year by a secret committee.
Over the years, the parade has had many different grand marshals, from Mario Lopez in 2007, Mike Rowe in 2008 and Kevin Bacon in 2016.
The official event kicks off today at 3 p.m. and ends with a free concert by Grand Funk Railroad. A free Morris Day & The Time concert will be held after the parade on Saturday.