The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - From The Editor -

Hello again, Hot Springs, If there’s a spring in your step and a lilt fills the air, it must be the time of year when the “green­ing” of the Spa City in­cludes be­ing Ir­ish on Satur­day, March 17, for the First Ever Ninth An­nual World’s Short­est St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade via his­toric Bridge Street.

Celebrity guest mar­shal Tim Mathe­son, best known, per­haps, for his role as Ot­ter in the 1978 com­edy “An­i­mal House,” will add his jovial per­son­al­ity to the big cel­e­bra­tion that draws thou­sands to the down­town area.

But, it’s not just blar­ney to say that our com­mu­nity has a long, long list of March events and ac­tiv­i­ties that are sure to please.

Ex­cite­ment’s still on track dur­ing the 108th an­nual live thor­ough­bred rac­ing sea­son at Oak­lawn Park, na­ture’s in bloom for the Tulip Ex­trav­a­ganza at Gar­van Wood­land Gar­dens, hard work and ser­vice projects high­light the 13th an­nual En­vi­ron­men­tal and Spa­tial Tech­nol­ogy Con­fer­ence, a na­tional con­ven­tion ex­pected to bring about 2,000 at­ten­dees to Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

And some 6,000 archers, fam­ily mem­bers and spec­ta­tors also have set their sights on this tourist des­ti­na­tion for the Arkansas Na­tional Archery in the Schools Pro­gram’s State Archery Tour­na­ment.

Add art ex­hibits, mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment, hik­ing and bik­ing, shop­ping, var­ied din­ing op­tions, busi­ness meet­ings and sem­i­nars to the eclec­tic mix and you can see why Hot Springs con­tin­ues to be the place to be and go see.

Some­times, though, I don’t be­lieve lo­cal denizens, es­pe­cially in their youth, truly ap­pre­ci­ated the fact that our town’s his­toric and in­ter­est­ing facets an­nu­ally at­tracted trav­el­ers from across the re­gion and around the coun­try. Af­ter all, we could take in the amuse­ments and soak up the at­mos­phere on a daily ba­sis.

In that re­gard, I was helped im­mensely by the tute­lage of two fairly so­phis­ti­cated ladies, both keen ob­servers of the hu­man scene. My ma­ter­nal grand­mother, who lived on Qua­paw Av­enue, took me on walk­ing tours of down­town, mak­ing cer­tain we vis­ited the shops, the banks, the eater­ies, the bath houses. My pa­ter­nal “grand,” whose home was a du­plex on Woodbine, drove me hither and yon to vir­tu­ally ev­ery corner of the county and treated me to Satur­day lunches and spe­cial oc­ca­sion din­ners in ho­tel din­ing rooms and quaint cafes.

They made sure I knew the names of the pioneers who turned a small set­tle­ment into a bustling trade cen­ter and then a pop­u­lar lo­cale that of­fered respite and sooth­ing wa­ters. They were proud to live in Hot Springs and in­stilled that feel­ing in me.

No mat­ter how far the jour­ney, no mat­ter how long the time, the heart al­ways finds its way home.

Wel­come, vis­i­tors. En­joy your stay. And do re­turn soon.

Melinda B. Gas­s­away Ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor

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