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story.lead_photo.caption Ralph Macchio stars in The Karate Kid.

"The Karate Kid," Ralph Macchio, will kick up the excitement on Bridge Street next year as the celebrity grand marshal of the First Ever 16th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The announcement by Visit Hot Springs came as part of the inaugural Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Pop Up Pub Party, held on the Hot Springs Convention Center lawn at the corner of Malvern Avenue and Convention Boulevard..

A demonstration by the Professional Black Belt Academy paid homage to Macchio's silver screen legacy as Daniel LaRusso, the titular character he portrayed in 1984's The Karate Kid, two sequels, and a YouTube Red series now in its second year.

A biography from Visit Hot Springs noted Macchio has an extensive list of film credits that also includes Johnny in Frances Ford Coppola's The Outsiders and My Cousin Vinny, which co-starred Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei.

Macchio recently reprised his iconic role for the 10-part series released on YouTube Red, "Cobra Kai," which centers on Johnny Lawrence, the original film's core antagonist, reigniting a rivalry with LaRusso after reopening the Cobra Kai dojo.

"Ralph Macchio is the perfect combination for grand marshal," said Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs.

Macchio became a fan favorite in 2011 on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, the biography notes. Macchio is not the first alum of the show to be in the parade; last year's grand marshal, Joey Fatone, placed second on in 2007. Oscar-nominated actor Gary Busey, who was the official parade starter for the First Ever 13th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, appeared on the show, and Mario Lopez, the grand marshal of the First Ever Fourth Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, was also on the show.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Ellen DeGeneres' favorite DJ and "So You Think You Can Dance" star, will join the festivities as the 2019 parade's official starter.

The First Ever 16th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade will be a three-day event starting March 15 when O'Kelley's Inflatable Pub will "pop up" downtown. A free concert on Bridge Street will take place March 16.


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