The shortest parade, the worst, the longest, the coldest, the largest shamrock, and the snake race – all the information you need to make your St. Patrick's Day season fun.
The World's shortest St. Patrick's Day parade:
The shortest parade is always held on March 17th on historic Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas. Bridge Street became famous in the 1940s when “Ripley's Believe It or Not” designated it "The Shortest Street in the World." Having earned this distinction, the Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau deemed Bridge Street the most logical location for this novel parade.
World's worst St. Patrick's parade
Chicago's South Side parade was canceled in 2009 but local bar owner Gerry O'Connell had his own parade – around his bar “Irish Eyes.” O'Connell wanted to pay homage to the defunct Chicago tradition.
"The South Side [parade] was canceled," he said. "So what we're doing, is we're starting at the south side of the bar, and we're going to come around from the south side and parade the whole bar. And we're going to salute the South Side, because we'd like them to have their parade. The parade was reinstated in 2012.
World's coldest St. Patrick's celebration:
Bering Sea Ice St. Patrick's Golf Classic: Third Saturday of March in Nome Alaska. Six-hole course played on the frozen Bering Sea with bright orange golf balls. Par is 41. Cash prizes for best scores. $50 entry fee includes a t-shirt, hat, golf balls, tees (old shotgun shells), snakebite remedies (small bottles of vodka) and a certificate of completion.
World's smallest St. Patrick's celebration:
Can you say one? That's right, this is a party for one, and it has occurred every St. Patrick's Day since 1993 in the town of Enterprise, Alabama.
A different person of Irish descent each year holds the Irish flag high above his/her head, carries a pot o' gold and recites limericks as he/she walks past the local courthouse and around the Bol Weevil Monument. (Yes, Enterprise is the only American city with a monument of a pest. Don't ask!)
Grand Marshals in absentia are nominated and selected on the basis of their written acceptance speech, plus their reasons for not being able to attend the parade. In other words, anyone can be a Grand Marshal.
World's largest St. Patrick’s Day parade:
The New York parade has become the largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in the world. In a typical year, 150,000 marchers participate in it, including bands, firefighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs, and two million spectators line the streets
World’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade:
The New York celebration is the oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world. The parade dates back to 1762,
World's longest celebration of St. Patrick’s Day
Montserrat in the Caribbean
In the 17th Century, Irish Catholic indentured servants were welcomed to the tiny volcanic island of Montserrat at a time when they were shunned in most other English-controlled islands of the Caribbean. The Irish mixed freely with the African slaves brought to work the English sugar plantations, and a unique Afro-Irish culture developed.
Some say St. Patrick's Day is a bigger deal in the U.S. than it is in Ireland, but Montserrat may top them both. The St. Patrick's festivities here go on for a solid week. In fact, Montserrat is the only nation in the world other than Ireland that considers St. Patrick's Day a national holiday.
St. Patrick's Week in Montserrat includes parades featuring costumed revelers wearing green shamrocks, concerts with calypso, soca, and iron band music, church services and dinners, and a special March 17 commemoration of an attempted slave revolt in 1768. You'll find Guinness on tap in the bars, hints of Irish cookery in the national dish (a stew called 'goat water'), and lots of Irish surnames among the people.
World's newest St. Patrick’s Day celebration:
Hong Kong was the latest addition to the global St. Patrick's Day celebration. On Sunday, March 15, they organized an event in Tamar Park to celebrate the links between Hong Kong and Ireland and to bring together locals, Irish and other ex-patriates.
World's weirdest St. Patrick's Day event:
Until recently, San Francisco featured a snake race involving real snakes racing each other in their celebration. A recent winner was named "Window Viper", "I'm boa-ed" was second.
World's largest shamrock
In Nebraska, the world's largest shamrock is painted on the road in the town of O'Neill, which is the Irish capital of Nebraska. Every year, they install a huge blarney stone at the corner of the Shamrock and have many festivities, including a public reading of the book, "Green Eggs and Ham."
*Originally published March 2012