The World's Shortest Saint Patrick's Day Parade takes place on historic Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Bridge street is only 98 feet long, and it was named the shortest street in the world by Ripley's Believe It or Not in the 1940s. Leave it to the residents of Hot Springs, the home of quirky attractions, to come up with the idea to have a parade on it. Loud, zany, and unpredictable fun is the way most people would describe the World's Shortest Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
The inaugural World's Shortest Saint Patrick's Day Parade was held in 2004. It has taken place every year since then. Sponsored by the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the parade started as a fun joke, but now it's taken on a life of its own. People from all over the world pile up on the tiny street. Afterward, there is usually a pub crawl and dance.
The role the celebrity guests usually fill is "Celebrity Grand Marshal." The parade has had a Celebrity Grand Marshal since 2005, with Bo Derek and John Corbett being marshal twice. The first celebrity to Grand Marshall the parade was George Wendy, followed by Pauley Shore, Mario Lopez, Mike Rowe, John Ratzenberger, Bo Derek, John Corbett, Tim Matheson, Bo Derek and John Corbett together, Jim Belushi, and Mark Martin. In 2016, the Grand Marshals were the Bacon brothers, Kevin and Michael Bacon.
So, what can you do in a 98-foot parade? You would think that there wouldn't be a lot, but they actually squeeze a lot into 98 feet. In the past, they've had the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, 100 Irish Elvis Presley impersonators, and "Duck Dynasty's Mountain Men." None of the floats are overly serious and everyone is just there to have a great time.
Before the parade, they have a Blarney Stone Kissing Contest. You win money if you can "romance the stone" better than anyone else in the crowd (green beer may help your chances). After the parade, they have live music and dancing in the street.
This is a fun, quirky parade and you won't find a parade like it anywhere else. Only in Arkansas can people have so much fun with so little space.
They measure the parade route every year before the parade starts. You never know when a street will grow a few feet. Then the parade starts. It's a short route, so the parade doesn't take too long. After the parade, the band plays and there is dancing in the street. You can also take part in a local pub crawl. There are many bars and restaurants near the area where the parade takes place.
The parade is usually family friendly if your kids are mature enough for Saint Patrick's Day revelry. Most of the humor is just good clean fun. That's what Hot Springs is known for. Good, clean fun... a little bit weird, but fun.