HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The World’s Largest Potato on Wheels has joined the lineup of the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® to be held Sunday, March 17, on 98-foot Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs.
The four-ton Big Idaho® Potato and its accompanying truck and trailer will almost fill the length of Bridge Street, according to Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the parade.
“The potato is woven deep into the heritage of Ireland and the millions of Irish Americans whose ancestors fled the Great Potato Famine of 1845 – 1852,” Arrison said. “That catastrophe left a million Irish people dead and saw a million more emigrate to the United States and other parts of North America.”
“While the Big Idaho® Potato will bring still more zany fun to our World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®, it will also serve as a reminder of why so many Americans trace their ancestry back to Ireland,” he said.
The spectacular spud, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, travels the country annually, making nearly 70 appearances at events across America.
It is the equivalent of 21,562 Idaho® potatoes, according to its sponsors. A real tremendous tuber of that size would take 7,000 years to grow, they say. It would take two years in a hot oven to bake 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.
“The tremendous tater annually makes appearances in such events as the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., the festivities surrounding the Kentucky Derby and NASCAR Poconos Raceway,” Arrison said, “so we are really pleased that they have added Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, to the tour for 2019.
“Along with the great new events we’ve added for 2019, the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® will be the most spectacular one we’ve ever seen.”
The Big Idaho® Potato Truck Tour has always had a charitable component to it, “A Big Helping.” During its tour, the truck’s management team will identify local charities to receive a $500 donation via a Signature Board that’s set up at the events the Truck visits. Past recipients have included food banks, children’s hospitals and animal shelters.
The three-day parade weekend in Hot Springs already includes the First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K® footrace at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 15.