HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry didn’t have 30,000 wedding guests.
But Cheryl Kauffman and James Brassfield will.
Even Harry and Meghan didn’t have a king perform their wedding vows. But Kauffman and Brassfield will.
The couple will be married on Bridge Street in Hot Springs on March 17, immediately before the start of the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which annually attracts 30,000 revelers to downtown Hot Springs.
Officiating will be Scott McClard, who is this year’s Parade King.
“This is going to be the best day of my life. I mean Three Dog Night is playing my wedding reception?” Kauffman said, referring to the free public concert by music legends Three Dog Night immediately following the parade.
Kauffman, who is from the East End community in Saline County, and Brassfield, who is from Tulsa, first met on an ice cream date and their second date was on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs. They’ve been dating for three years now. This is their first visit to the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Kauffman works for AeroCare, a medical equipment company, and Brassfield is a tattoo artist who also does volunteer work in prison ministry. His motto is, “You don’t have to be a low life your whole life.”
McClard, who is co-owner of world-famous McClard’s Bar-B-Que in Hot Springs, was certified to perform weddings after he obtained an online “certificate of Christian ordination” from the United National Church of Dallas.
The wedding will take place at 5:45 p.m. March 17, immediately before the start of the parade.
By the way, this is not the first wedding to have taken place during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs. David and Leysa Lowery were married on Bridge Street immediately before the start of the 2009 parade.
This year’s expanded St. Patrick’s celebration will begin Friday evening, March 15, with the First Ever First Annual World Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K footrace on Bridge Street. The Zero K race will extend the 2019 St. Patrick’s weekend to three days, according to Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the parade.
“Since St. Patrick’s Day itself falls on a Sunday in 2019, we saw a great opportunity to add the Zero K to our previously announced lineup of great events,” he said. “In addition to the internationally acclaimed parade itself on Sunday, March 17, we will have free live entertainment by Smash Mouth on Saturday night at the Bridge Street stage where Bridge Street, Malvern Avenue, Broadway and Convention Boulevard intersect. Plus, we’ll have another free live concert by Three Dog Night on Sunday after the parade.”
This will mark the second year in a row that two free concerts have been held in conjunction with the internationally known parade, which annually attracts 30,000 celebrating fans to the downtown historic district.
No chairs will be permitted at either concert, according to Arrison.
The free 8 p.m. concert on Saturday, March 16, featuring Smash Mouth will climax a day of festivities that will start at 3 p.m. with the day’s opening of O’Kelley’s World’s Largest Inflatable Pop Up Pub adjacent to Bridge Street. Music will start at 7 p.m., with the Smash Mouth performance beginning at 8.
The First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®, will feature TV star Ralph (The Karate Kid) Macchio as the celebrity grand marshal and Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite DJ and dancer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, as the official starter.
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.