The World’s Tallest Leprechaun is hanging up his green duds, and a Hot Springs native will be stepping into the role — albeit in a smaller frame — for the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 in downtown Hot Springs.
Dick Antoine, widely recognized as one of Hot Springs’ biggest promoters, is retiring after being involved as a huge leprechaun from the very beginning of the parade in 2003.
His successor leprechaun — though not the world’s tallest — will be Roger Scott, a Hot Springs native who now is one of the hosts of the wildly popular “Show With No Name” on Little Rock radio station 103.7 The Buzz.
“I began my entertainment career as the Trojan Chicken mascot at Hot Springs High School in the early ‘80s,” Scott said.
He later started started his long-running career in Arkansas radio with original characters and impressions.
“Dick Antoine has been a tireless advocate for Hot Springs for a generation,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the parade. “He has been involved with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the inception, and he and Monte Everhart, The World’s Biggest Leprechaun, have entertained hundreds of thousands of parade-goers over the years.
“No one can replace Dick, but Roger will prove to be just as entertaining for the crowds.”
“I’ve never been to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Scott confesses. ”I’ve always had a conflict when the parade came around, but I always knew it’s always been one of the coolest events anywhere.
“I mean it’s St. Patrick’s Day, shortest street in the world and it’s in my hometown. Bridge Street, where the parade takes place, is the very corner I stood as a kid every year to watch the Hot Springs Christmas parade go up and down Central Avenue.
“When I was told that long-time leprechaun and legendary Hot Springs radio host and it’s No. 1 ambassador, Dick Antoine, was hanging up his square cut coat, shoes and buckles, and map to the end of the rainbow pot of gold, I thought where were they going to find another 7-foot leprechaun?
“Well, a few weeks go by and I receive an email. Seven-foot leprechauns just don’t grow on trees so they went 180 degrees from Dick. I’m put in contact with Monte Everhart, the other half of the giant leprechaun duo, and boom! No hesitation on my part, I’m in!
“I’ve cleared my calendar for March 17. I’m not only going to witness the parade for the first time, I’m gonna live it. I’m gonna participate in it. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
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 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.