Some fast facts about the First Ever 16th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs:
• The parade route is 98 feet long, the length of Bridge Street. The street was named by Ripley's Believe It or Not as the world's shortest street in everyday use.
• The 2019 celebrity grand marshal will be actor Ralph Macchio, best known for his role as Daniel LaRusso in "The Karate Kid" and "Cobra Kai."
• The official starter will be Stephen Laurel "tWitch" Boss. The freestyle hip-hop dancer, entertainer and actor was the runner-up on the American "So You Think You Can Dance" TV show and is featured on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" as a DJ.
• Previous grand marshals have included Joey Fatone of NSYNC; TV Star Alfonso Ribeiro; George Wendt (Norm on "Cheers"); TV star Mario Lopez; comedian Pauly Shore; Mike Rowe (host of "Dirty Jobs"); John Ratzenberger (Cliff on "Cheers"); movie legend Bo Derek; acclaimed actor John Corbett; Bo Derek and John Corbett (together as returning co-grand marshals); actor Tim Matheson; actor/comedian Jim Belushi; NASCAR legend Mark Martin; and actor Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael Bacon.
• Previous official starters have been Academy Award nominated actor Gary Busey; pro wrestling legend Ric Flair; Mountain Man from the "Duck Dynasty" TV series; country musicians The Swon Brothers and Jon Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite").
• The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have performed yearly since 2011, and 12 of the cheerleaders will be featured in the 2019 parade.
• The 4-ton Big Idaho Potato and its accompanying truck and trailer will make its first appearance in this year's parade.
• The three-day parade weekend begins in Hot Springs with the First Ever First Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Zero K Run at 6 p.m. today. The race will cover a course that is 299 feet long that makes it three times longer than the parade itself.
• Preceding the parade, there will be the Romancing The Stone contest, which showcases a competition for the most creative way of kissing the Arkansas Blarney Stone, which sits permanently in front of the Hot Springs Convention Center a half block from the parade route.
The parade has been recognized worldwide with numerous international awards, including the following:
• In 2005, it was No. 1 in Off the Beaten Path Parades awarded by The Irish Echo.
• In 2008, it was named among the Top Ten St. Patrick's Day Parades in the U.S. by AOL.
• In 2009, it was named the Quirkiest St. Patrick's Day Parade on Earth by Smithsonian Magazine.
• In 2009, it was named No. 2 in its list of Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the Southeast by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
• In 2009, it was selected as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.
• In 2010, it was elected No. 8 among the Top 10 Worldwide St. Patrick's Day Celebrations by HotelsCombined.com.
• In 2010, the parade received the Henry Award for Community Tourism Development from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
• In 2010, it was designated an Official Southern Travel Treasure by AAA Southern Traveler Magazine.
• In 2010, the parade was elected to the list of Top 100 Events and Festivals in North America by the American Bus Association group tour association.
Local on 03/15/2019
Print Headline: Fast facts about the annual parade