Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2014

Fairfield to attempt Guinness record during RAGBRAI

By STACI ANN WILSON WRIGHT | Jul 12, 2013

In an attempt to break a Guinness World Record, Fairfield RAGBRAI organizers are hosting a stache bash.

Fairfield residents, RAGBRAI festival-goers and bike riders will have the opportunity to don synthetic upper lip facial hair and help break the Guinness World Record for the most mustaches worn at a single event. The record-breaking event will take place July 26 as part of RAGBRAI festivities.

In September, 648 mustache clad fans set the record at an event hosted by the St. Louis Rams. Six months later, more than 1,500 people wearing fake mustaches gathered at the annual LaughFest in Grand Rapids, Mich. to become the new record holders. RAGBRAI organizers heard about the event at LaughFest and thought it would be a fun feat to attempt breaking the record when RAGBRAI comes through Fairfield at the end of the month.

“The theme for RAGBRAI is Cirque de Fairfield: Defying Gravity, and one of the taglines is ‘Hold onto your handlebars.’ We just thought it seemed like it was a good tie to that. It was a good fit,” said Terry Baker, assistant director of the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Organizers don’t intend to just break the record; they want to knock it out of the ballpark. Their goal? Assemble 4,000 people on the courthouse lawn to wear fake mustaches simultaneously for five straight minutes.

Because she has a background in arts and tourism, Julie Minicucci has been recruited to help assist with the record-breaking attempt. Although new to the Fairfield area, she agreed to become involved because of the enthusiasm of the Fairfield people.

“Julie agreed to take this on and she’s been really helpful in getting all our ducks in a row for this event,” said Baker.

Characterizing the public response to this challenge as “overwhelmingly positive,” Baker said people are excited to take part in setting a Guinness World Record.

“We have put it on Facebook, and the overall responses we are getting so far is that it just sounds like something really fun and different to do,” she said. “We just want this to be fun.”

This is the first time in the 41-year history of the famous bike ride across Iowa that setting a Guinness World Record has even been attempted.

“This is going to be something completely unique to Fairfield,” Baker said.

Noting again that Guinness has very stringent rules and record-keeping procedures that must be followed, Baker said people who wish to participate in breaking the record need to be prepared to follow the protocols. If protocols are not followed correctly, it could mean that the new record might actually be set but not recognized by Guinness.

Adults who wish to participate should come to the Jefferson County Courthouse at 5:30 p.m. July 26. There will be an entrance to the event on the south side of the courthouse. When people enter, they will be given a numbered wristband and a fake mustache. Participants must wear the mustache provided by event coordinators; they should not bring their own mustache. Real mustaches cannot be counted.

As the event is getting set up, people must be prepared to wait, as it will take time to get all 4,000 people in place, Baker said. If people enter but leave before being part of setting the record, they must be deducted from the count.

“Then things get a little bit tricky,” Baker said. “If they can’t stay for the whole thing, they will actually be detrimental to what we are doing.”

The actual event will take place at 6 p.m. or soon after. Everyone will be asked to put on the mustaches; they must be worn simultaneously for a full five minutes. Baker said if organizers see someone taking the mustache off before the five minutes is up, he or she also must be deducted from the count.

During the five minutes that the record is being set, organizers will have to take several measures to document the event. It must be videotaped and photographed from multiple angles. Organizers will be working with the Fairfield Media Center and private videographers and photographers. The documentation will be sent to Guinness; it could be several months before organizers are informed that they officially set the new world record, Baker said.

Children are welcome to participate in setting the new world record, but Baker warned they must be accompanied by an adult and they must be old enough to be able to leave the fake mustache on for the full five minutes.

“If you bring children, understand that there is going to be wait time. It might be a good idea to bring some distractions for the them while they wait,” Baker said. “We don’t want to be handing out mustaches to people who can’t fully commit. The mustaches have to be worn for the full five minutes. If a child is of an age where he or she can’t understand that, it might be better if the child watch the event with parents.”

While RAGBRAI organizers had to pay a $700 fee to Guinness and mustaches were purchased for 15 cents each, Baker said organizers felt it was a small price for some big fun.

“This is going to be a blast,” Baker said.

For more information on the Guinness World Record attempt or to become a volunteer videographer or photographer for the event, contact Baker at the Fairfield Convention and Visitors Bureau at 641-472-2828 or by email at tbaker@travelfairfieldiowa.com. Complete information is available at www.facebook.com/FairfieldRagbrai2013 or www.fairfieldragbrai.com.

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