SOURCE: Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

January 23, 2017 16:54 ET

First Ever 14th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade Shaping Up to Be Biggest Ever in Hot Springs, Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, AR--(Marketwired - Jan 23, 2017) - The First Ever 14th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade on world-famous 98-foot-long Bridge Street in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, is shaping up to be the biggest yet.

Since its beginning in 2003, the parade has seen some great entertainment, but 2017's event might just top them all.

The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on March 17.

To begin with, TV star Alfonso Ribeiro has signed on the this year's celebrity grand marshal. The star of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," winner of "Dancing With the Stars" and host of "America's Funniest Home Videos" follows in the footsteps of such luminaries at John Corbett and Bo Derek, Jim Belushi, George Wendt and Kevin Bacon.

The official starter this year will be wrestling legend Ric Flair, who stormed the internet a week ago with a video expressing his pleasure at the prospect of tipping off the zany parade.

Musician Uncle Kracker will perform a free concert at the conclusion of the parade.

New this year will be the six extremely rare black-and-white Clydesdale horses representing Express Employment Professionals, the first time horses have been accepted for the parade.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will be there, of course, but this year there will be an even dozen members of the popular squad instead of the regular four or six.

And just last week Hot Springs was named No. 8 among the Top 10 Spots in the World to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by Irish Central, the world's most authoritative Irish media hub.

Irish Central listed Hot Springs among such acclaimed places as Dublin, Ireland; New York City; Chicago, and Boston.

"What an honor for our city to be among such famous company as those cities," said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the creators of The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade. The First Ever 14th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held on world-famous 98-foot-long Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs on March 17.

Of Hot Springs' parade, Irish Central said: "Nicknamed the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, this celebration is truly one of a kind, with Irish belly dancers and the Irish Order of Elvis Impersonators. After experiencing this quirky parade, visitors relax at the Arlington Resort in historic downtown."

Irish Central is the leading Irish digital media company in North America, providing political, current affairs, entertainment, and historical commentary to the Irish throughout the world.

The business caters to 34 million Irish Americans and 70 million Irish diaspora and receives 3.5 million unique visitors per month. It has a large and quickly growing social media following, including 500,000 Facebook followers, 33,000 Twitter followers, and 13,000 followers on Instagram. The website also enjoys a newsletter subscriber base of 250,000.

Some tremendously popular parade features, such as the Kissing of the Arkansas Blarney Stone, will be held, of course. That contest, with cash prizes in several categories of Blarney-kissing, begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center, a half block from the internationally famous parade route.

The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, green Irish wolfhounds, marching units such as Paddy O'Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as bands and 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.

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