HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — A dancing dinosaur, roller derby ladies and the Budweiser Clydesdales join a raft of perennial favorites March 17 for the First Ever 15th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® in downtown Hot Springs. 

“The brigade of Irish Elvis impersonators, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Irish belly dancers and other crowd favorites return again this year,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the parade founders. “But we are welcoming some new participants who are also destined to become old favorites.”

“We have a dancing dinosaur from Mid-America Science Museum and the Sassy Shorty Ladies — a team of roller derby skaters — and a marching pack of Irish dachshunds joining the festivities,” he said. “Plus, the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be here, along with our first-ever marching band, the Mountain Pine High School Red Devil Band.

“We’re packing 98 miles of solid fun into the 98-foot-long Bridge Street parade route this year. It’s going to be the best parade ever.”

Other entries include the O’Hobbie Waddlers, a troupe of “senior tappers”; the Irish Bearden Sharpshooters, a troop of Civil War re-enactors; the Shamrock Shimmies, a group of belly dancers minus their veils, and the Fun City Irish Chorus singers. There will be 40 entries in all, including grand marshal Joey Fatone of *NSYNC and official starter Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite” fame.

The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. this year, an hour later than usual, to give Oaklawn racing fans time to watch the Rebel Stakes at the track and still have time to get downtown for the parade.

There will be a free public concert on Friday night, March 16, by music legends Grand Funk Railroad and Adam Faucett, who was named Songwriter of the Year by the Central Arkansas Music Awards. The concert begins at 7:15 p.m. at the Broadway Entertainment District stage. On Saturday night, March 17, immediately following the parade, there will be another free public concert at the same location by Morris Day and The Time.

The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of marchers, strutters, dancers, waddlers and floats to cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs.

For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.