In a clever ploy to get us to visit, Veronica’s dad dropped a little “have you ever heard of The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade” on us early in March.
How could we possibly resist an invitation like that?
Simple answer, we couldn’t. We love a parade, and anything world’s shortest, longest, biggest, or smallest.
Bright and early on March 17th, we motored into the heart of “The Valley of The Vapors” and staked a claim on a spot to watch the compacted cavalcade.
Unlike some St. Paddy’s Day processions, this one is always held on March 17th, and every year it’s the First Ever #th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Hot Springs really decks out for the occasion, dying the famous fountains of healing waters kelly green.
Historic Bridge Street, America’s shortest street in daily use –according to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not — was cordoned off and ready.
The entire route covers a mere ninety-eight feet.
The course may be small but the event sure isn’t.
Tens of thousands of revelers line the tiny boulevard to welcome the numerous local dignitaries, Shriners, bikers, bands and babies in “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts.
All of that was just a warm up for the big guns. The crowd really got All Shook Up when a couple of dozen Kings of Rock & Roll took to the street as the International Order of Irish Elvi.
WATCH: The party comes alive – Elvis-style – with the International Order of Irish Elvi!
All we could say was “Thank you, thank you very much!”
Hard to believe, but once Elvis had left the building, it wasn’t the finale.
Each year a fabulous celebrity Grand Marshal finishes off the procession. This time Bo Derek, showed everyone that she’s still a 10.
Previous participants have been John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clayborn from Cheers), Pauly Shore, and George Wendt (NORM! from Cheers), with Jim Belushi slated for the First Ever 11th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Afterward a band takes the stage at the end of Bridge Street, segueing the parade into a street party / pub crawl before the last piece of candy gets snagged by a kid.
We decided to join the crowds in a libation or two at some of the local watering holes, with one strict rule, we would drink nothing green.
After a stint at Hot Spring’s version of an Irish Pub, where many of the Elvi were still strutting their stuff, we set out to explore another offering – The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival.
This indie extravaganza takes place at several venues around town, and has the good sense to time their festivities to coincide with the parade.
Thus insuring well-lubricated crowds to cheer on the up-and-coming bands from all across the country.
Ears ringing with the strains of several of these combos, we waded back into the night just in time to see the last of the beads, confetti and fake green fingernails being swept up.
Just in time start counting the days until until the next First Ever Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Only 364 to go.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com