Pizza King and Brewery Queen Will Reign as Royalty

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Pizza and suds — the perfect combo, not only for a great snack but also for the king and queen of the First Ever 15th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®.

The royalty for the First Ever 15th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® on March 17 in historic downtown Hot Springs will be Anthony Valinoti, the brains behind nationally famous Deluca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, and Rose Schweikhart, who developed and runs equally famous Superior Bathhouse Brewery on World Famous Bathhouse Row.

“We couldn’t have found two people more in tune with the atmosphere of wacky good fun surrounding our great little parade than Tony and Rose,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the creators of what has become a world-famous event. “Not only have their establishments brought nationwide favorable attention to Hot Springs, but Tony and Rose also fully understand how this event has grown to bring international media applause for our city.”

As for Valinoti, he jokingly says being named parade king “Is the greatest honor of my life, but it certainly blows up the [federal] witness protection program thing for me. I may have to move after this. “

Asked to select his favorite moment from attending past parades, Valinoti said, “For the past three years I have been one of the {Irish] Elvi impersonators, thanks to Scott McClard and Doc Hill. I wish I could pinpoint one single favorite moment, but there certainly is a lot of drinking involved in this event, so it all a little hazy. People tell me I had a wonderful time.”

Is there any Irish ancestry in his background? “None whatsoever,” he said, “but I have dated a lot of Irish girls. Does that count?”

 

Valinoti said, “The parade itself is the greatest day in our wonderful city. There is nothing like it anywhere, I’ve lived in New York, Las Vegas and Miami, and nobody puts on a show like this. This year’s parade brings us Grand Funk Railroad, Morris Day and The Time, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Joey Fatone, Jon Heder — wow that’s an incredible lineup! The tens of thousands of people who come to take part in the parade and the concerts surrounding it will not be disappointed. #fun #bestdayever.”

 

Asked what brought him to Hot Springs, Valinoti said, “Serendipity brought me to me Hot Springs, and it will keep me here the rest of my life. I’m owner of Deluca’s Pizza Uptown on Park Avenue. Since coming to Hot Springs and opening my restaurant I’ve encountered the best people I’ve ever met in my life. And living in one of the most perfect natural settings in the U.S.A. makes you ask, ‘How can I be this lucky.’”
For her part, Schweikhart said of being selected parade queen, “This is the greatest honor of my life. I promise to make Hot Springs Proud. You can bet your Shillelagh!”

She said her most memorable moment associated with the parade “Was definitely the year I hosted a parade party on top of one of the downtown rooftops — complete with Irish Stout on tap.”

Schweikhart says she has no immediate Irish connections, adding, “I’m from New Jersey but I was named after Great-Great-Grandmother Rose from Cork, Ireland! Can’t you tell by my Rosy cheeks?”

She says that in her role as queen of the parade “I look forward to strolling down the street in front of 200,000 partygoers,” adding, “I promise to accurately count every single one of them myself!”

 

“The vibrant arts community is what brought me to Hot Springs in 2011,” Schweikhart said. “Now I am proud to own the Superior Bathhouse Brewery, where we make beer with our famous thermal spring water. The luck of the Irish must have brought me here!”

Entertainment legend Joey Fatone will be the celebrity grand marshal for the 2018 parade. Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) will be the official starter for the event.

On Friday night, March 16, the evening before the parade, rock legends Grand Funk Railroad will play a free concert. Starting at 8 p.m. Grand Funk will perform from the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® stage at the foot of Bridge Street in the Broadway Entertainment District. Food and beverages will be on sale.

Since its beginning in 2003, the parade has brought positive international attention to Hot Springs as a place to visit for fun and entertainment.

The 2018 parade will begin at 7:30 p.m., an hour later than in previous years. It is starting later because of the running of The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Arrison said. “The later start will allow Oaklawn fans plenty of time to enjoy the live racing and get downtown for the start of the parade,” he said.

It will be followed immediately by a free public concert by Morris Day and The Time on the stage at the intersection of Bridge and Broadway Streets.