HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Ark. (News release) – The Big Idaho® Potato Truck, hauling the four-ton Big Idaho® Potato, will make a return engagement in Hot Springs for the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17.
The bodacious baker, billed as The World’s Biggest Potato on Wheels, and its accompanying truck and trailer – at a combined 72 feet long – were a huge hit in their inaugural appearance in the 2019 parade.
“It was a tight squeeze getting the tremendous tuber and its trailer to make the 90-degree turn off Central Avenue onto 98-foot-long Bridge Street, but the crew was able to ‘git ‘er done’ and the crowd just loved it,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the parade. “I’ve heard from people all year long wanting to know if the potato was coming back. Well, it is, and we can’t wait to enjoy it again.”
The prodigious pomme de terre was commissioned by the Idaho Potato Commission nine years ago and traveled 35,350 miles last year promoting Idaho® potatoes. It donated $12,500 to 25 local nonprofits, including one in Hot Springs, through its charitable program, A Big Helping.
The four-ton Big Idaho® Potato is the equivalent of 21,562 Idaho® potatoes, according to its sponsors. A real titanic tuber of that size would take 7,000 years to grow, they say. It would take two years in a hot oven to bake the brobdingnagian baker and would make 20,217 servings of mashed potatoes or 970,380 french fries. It is 802 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which tipped the scales at 11 pounds.
Already announced for the 2020 parade have been Cheech Marin as the celebrity grand marshal, Danny (Machete) Trejo as the official starter, Fredbird, the official mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals, and characters from television’s “PAW Patrol,” accompanied by FLW fishing legend Charlie Evans.
In addition, for the third year in a row, there will be two free public music concerts associated with the 2020 parade.
For the pre-parade concert on March 16, there will be Blues Traveler, and immediately following the parade on March 17 will be an appearance by Foghat.
No chairs or coolers will be permitted at either concert, according to Arrison.
The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, green Irish wolfhounds, marching units such as Paddy O’Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as other unique units cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street, the World’s Shortest Street in Everyday Use.
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.