After two years of radio silence, an organizer of the world’s second shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas finally conceded this week what folks here have known for …
After two years of radio silence, an organizer of the world’s second shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas finally conceded this week what folks here have known for nearly three years — that, for now anyway, the “World’s Shortest” title rightfully belongs in Adamsville.
In an interview published in a Hot Springs publication on Sunday, Steve Arrison, one of the founders of that city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, acknowledged that Adamsville’s parade, at 89 feet, is clearly shorter than the 98-foot procession that Hot Springs has claimed is the world’s shortest for 21 years.
In doing so, Arrison laid down a gauntlet that Chuck Kinnane, one of the organizers of the Adamsville event, said he and his fellow organizers are only too happy to play along with.
“We here in Hot Springs have responded to many challenges over the years by pointing out that we are perfectly willing to shorten our parade to whatever length it takes to retain our crown,” Arrison was quoted as saying. “We have also pointed out that our parade will march in place if necessary to keep the title. Heck, we’ll even march backwards if that’s what it takes.”
A day after Arrison’s comments went live, Kinnane said he’d be happy to enter what would amount to a reverse arms race with Hot Springs, doing what it takes to keep the crown where it rightfully belongs, halfway between Tiverton Four Corners and Westport’s Central Village:
“We have nothing but love and respect for the world's second shortest St. Patrick's Day parade,” Kinnane said. “We challenge Hot Springs to shorten their parade this year, and if they can reclaim the crown, we want to make a donation to a charity of their choice.”
This year’s running
Even without the challenge from Arkansas, Kinnane is in full planning mode for this year’s running on Sunday, March 17. But his wife jokes that it’s all she ever hears about.
“She’s like, ‘You talk about it non-stop for six months before it happens, then after it’s over you talk about how awesome it was for the next six months.’”
There should be plenty to talk about for at least another six after this year’s parade, the third annual.
Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell will be the guest of honor. Long-time Little Compton teachers Diane and David MacGregor are the chief marshals. One of the hottest traditional bands in Ireland, Green Road, will play a concert. And there will be the usual revelry — corned beef and cabbage, lots of musicians and plenty of pints.
“It’s going to be such a great year,” Kinnane said.
The free parade and accompanying corned beef and cabbage dinner afterwards has always been a fund-raiser for the Little Compton Food Bank, and this year organizers also hope to share proceeds with food banks in Tiverton, Westport and possibly, Fall River.
Though the parade is free, folks who want to contribute to the fund-raiser can now buy tickets to the post-parade party at www.paddyparade.com.
Tickets to the concert, corned beef dinner and a drink are $55; the concert and a drink is $40; pint glasses are $20 and T-shirts are $35.
Last year, organizers had to keep the number of available tickets low as the food was served inside the Kinnane compound on Main Road. But this year, there will be a heated tent outside, so they can serve many more people. Even so, they expect the party to sell out quickly.