Chicago has its green-dyed river. Savannah has its impressive party. But one Southern city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration has something no other place can claim. Designated as the “Shortest Street in the World” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not in the 1940s, 98-foot-long Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been the home of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 2003.
“It’s not your typical parade where there’s just a bunch of people walking,” says Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “You don’t see fifty or sixty Elvis impersonators all suited up for St. Patrick’s Day [anywhere else].”
At 5:30 on Friday, wrestler Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair will kick off the festivities, which features the International Order of the Irish Elvi, along with marching Irish wolfhounds, a smattering of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and the “Lards of Dance.” This year’s grand marshal, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”), will throw beads to onlookers, as past marshals like Bo Derek and Kevin Bacon have done. The night ends with a free concert by Uncle Kracker to wrap up the festivities.
“Originally, people came for the celebrities aspect of it,” Arrison says. “But when they see the parade, they just want to come back.”