(PHOTO CAPTIONS: Cheech Marin; and the World’s Tallest Leprechaun cheers on the parade crowd.)
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — It’s halfway to the First Ever 19th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®, and Cheech Marin, half of the legendary comedy team Cheech and Chong, will serve as the grand marshal on March 17, 2022.
Marin had been scheduled as the grand marshal for the parade in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the event for two years, resulting in drastically reduced versions in 2020 and 2021.
“We did have a parade — of sorts — those two years,” Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said, “just to keep up the tradition of having a parade, rain or shine. In 2020, we had a single marcher cover the 98-foot distance of Bridge Street, the world’s shortest street in everyday use. In 2021, we had a greatly reduced version of the parade, minus the cheering crowds that we normally would have had.
“Now, we’re halfway to the 2022 parade, and we plan to kick out the jams and get back to the tremendous little parade that has been named among the Top 10 St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world.
“Cheech will fit in perfectly with the zany, fun-for-all atmosphere that defines the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®.”
Arrison said plans are progressing in lining up a great list of attractions to add to the usual groups of marchers, musicians, green Irish wolfhounds, the World’s Tallest Leprechaun, floats, dancers and others who cover the 98-foot distance of the internationally famous parade.
“Our newly established Bridge Street Entertainment District will allow more freedom for our crowds to enjoy the tremendous fun atmosphere the parade brings to downtown Hot Springs,” he said.
Cheech is a paradox in the world of entertainment: he is an actor, director, writer, musician, art collector and humanitarian, as well as a cultural icon. Six of the Cheech & Chong albums went gold, four were nominated for Grammys, and “Los Cochinos” won the 1973 Grammy for Best Comedy Recording.
The critically acclaimed duo made a fluid transition to films, starring in eight features together. During a split with Chong, Cheech wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy “Born in East L.A.” He appeared in over 25 films, including his scene-stealing role in “Tin Cup,” and in eight films directed by Robert Rodriguez.
On television, Cheech was a sitcom regular before joining Don Johnson on the highly successful CBS drama “Nash Bridges” Through his popular Disney Pixar animation film roles (“Oliver & Company,” “The Lion King” and “Cars”) and as an author of children’s books such as Cheech the School Bus Driver, Cheech is also a favorite with kids and parents around the world.
In 2009, everyone’s favorite duo reunited after 25 years apart and they continue to perform together as their schedules allow.
Cheech is also recognized today as a preeminent Chicano art advocate. In the mid-1980s, he began developing what is now arguably the finest private collection of Chicano art. Much of it formed the core of his inaugural exhibition, “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,” which broke attendance records during its groundbreaking 15‐city US tour. Following the success of “Chicano Visions,” 13 additional exhibitions drawn from the Cheech Marin Collection have toured more than 50 major art museums across the United States and in Europe under the direction of Melissa Richardson Banks. Furthering his goal to introduce Chicano art to a wider audience, Marin has entered into a partnership with the City of Riverside and Riverside Art Museum to create the national Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry aka "The Cheech" (www.TheCheechCenter.org). The Cheech will become the permanent home for his more than 700 works of Chicano art, including paintings, sculptures and photography; collectively, the most renowned Chicano art collection in the United States.
The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts upwards of 30,000 people to the city’s historic downtown district.
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.