The celebration will be expanded this year to include a ceremony honoring an Irish-born two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner who is buried in Hot Springs and a celebration of a record-setting feat accomplished by the legendary Babe Ruth in Hot Springs on St. Patrick’s Day in 1918.
That’s all in addition to the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade itself on March 17, which will feature movie-TV-musical star John Corbett, star of TV’s “Northern Exposure” and the “Sex and the City” movies, as celebrity grand marshal.
A special surprise guest also will be featured, according to Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and one of the parade organizers.
“We plan to lay a wreath on Monday, March 14, at the grave of John King, one of only 19 Americans to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor twice for valor,” Arrison said. “John King passed away in 1938 while being treated at the Army and Navy Hospital and was buried in Calvary Cemetery. We learned about his burial in Hot Springs when his hometown in Ireland dedicated a monument in his honor last fall. We are hoping someone from the Irish Consulate and Governor Mike Beebe can be on hand for the Hot Springs ceremony.”
Arrison said it’s a little-known fact that the great Babe Ruth accomplished an astounding feat on St. Patrick’s Day in 1918 while participating in spring training in Hot Springs.
“We don’t want to tip our hand about this one until we work out some logistics for memorializing this extraordinary Ruth accomplishment,” Arrison said. “We’ll announce the details as soon as we work out the ceremony.”
“Then, of course, there’s the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade itself,” he said. “The addition of a star of John Corbett’s caliber is already stirring unprecedented interest in the parade, and we’ll also have a special surprise guest for the event.
“Also, this year we’ll be introducing our new World’s Tallest Leprechaun, who is succeeding Dick Antoine, who was our leprechaun for so many years. The King and Queen of the Parade also will be introduced.
“Our Romancing The Stone event for the most romantic smooching of the Arkansas Blarney Stone again will precede the parade, and we are looking to add some variety to the parade entries themselves.”
Groups or individuals interested in entering a unit in the parade should contact Leysa Lowery at email@example.com or call her at 501-321-2027.