Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow Angels Update: No Records Broken

For those of you who have been following this story since I first announced it in January.

I left the house around nine a.m. with the intention of arriving at the University of MN-Duluth Campus by nine-thirty in preparation for an attempt at breaking the Guinness Book World Record for simultaneous snow angels. Bismarck, North Dakota, currently holds the record, just shy of 9,000. The organizers here, Duluth Rotary 25 and the Proctor DECA, had hoped to produce a new record. No doubt their experience will teach them a number of lessons about what it takes to gather masses together, and how impressive it is when large attendance for anything is achieved.

This effort was for a good cause: clean water for indigent peoples in Ethiopia. But possibly the incentives weren't there for 9,000 volunteers to give up their Saturday to stand out in the cold and brave the elements for sixty to ninety minutes.

The enthusiasm level was quite amped amongst those who did participate. It was a great social event and a fund raiser as well. The cost per family was to be ten dollars, or five per individual. In addition to their time, some people donated quite a bit more.

Officially designated volunteers were wearing yellow knit caps, and there were an abundance of these when I arrived. The plan was for these volunteers to assume responsibility for squads of fifty. Many of the participants who arrived early were ushered into the field house where they could warm up till the actual time came. The Duluth Children's Museum had set up tables with activities for young people to help them stay occupied. There were art and science projects including a table where kids could make rockets and launch them from the middle of the room. (An air launcher, not explosives, was used for this purpose.)

Crystal Taylor helped promote the event.
The fact that we had fresh snow this week was duly noted as a plus by organizers, and all participants on hand acknowledged a measure of gratitude that temps were in the teens and not minus twenty had been the case the previous Saturday.

It became apparent by 10:30 that the numbers were significantly short of the target. By 10:40 a.m. those in attendance were being urged to text friends and relatives to hurry on over in order to fill the stadium.

A little before eleven Duluth Mayor Don Ness offered up a few words of encouragement which was then followed by special music and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. At the critical moment, which turned out to be approximately 11:15 a.m., everyone was instructed to lay on the ground to commence flapping their arms and legs to make snow angels. A helicopter was slated to appear for the purpose of documenting. Though a minute or two behind schedule it did finally arrive to make several passes above the collected masses.

Here's how it was supposed to be. We only needed the silver and blue.

The energy level remained robust as the crowd dispersed to the parking lots and drifted away. The official results? I know not. I can only testify that they did what they could and a lot of people had a good time. 

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