Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 21 August 2012 12:55
Steve Hudson, superintendent of Marion County Park and Lake, said his office received confirmation that the attempt he helped organize March 24 at the lake was successful.
“I was on cloud nine,” Hudson said about the news. “My wife and daughter wondered what all the hootin’ and hollerin’ was about. After telling them, I then told my mom and dad and, after that, I called all the commissioners and let them know.”
The record-setting event drew 1,282 people roasting marshmallow simultaneously.
Of those, Hudson said 10 were disqualified because their marshmallow either got too hot and fell off in the fire or didn’t get charred.
In addition to local residents, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, his wife, Mary, and their children, Jenna and Mark, participated.
Also attending were Attorney General Derek Schmidt, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Caroline and Claire.
Origin of the roast
Hudson said the idea for the marshmallow roast was prompted after last year’s severe storms left several trees and limbs damaged.
“We were looking at ways to dispose of the debris,” Hudson said.
Brian Thiessen, park and lake assistant, and Hudson began searching for ideas on how to get rid of the limbs in a fun and creative way.
“We thought about a huge hot-dog roast,” Hudson said, but Thiessen discovered there was a new Guinness category involving a marshmallow roast.
For the next several months, Hudson and Thiessen organized the event.
“It was a huge undertaking,” Hudson said.
“We have been thinking about some ideas using pictures from the event with the official Guinness logo,” Hudson said. “We are planning to use aerial shots taken by Don Ratzlaff, along with other photos of the aftermath.”
Another idea, he said, is to create and sell sweatshirts and T-shirts to raise money for the new Circles Initiative organization that aims to help people out of poverty.
“We are definitely getting a sign made up with the Guinness logo and putting it on the site where it happened,” Hudson said.
He envisions the sign reading something like: “On this site, March 24, 2012, Marion County set a world record for the most marshmallows roasted.”
Guinness officials sent Hudson an e-mail congratulating the county on achieving the record.
An official certificate confirming the county’s accomplishment is also being created, according to a Guinness spokesperson.
For mass-participation records, Guinness can also print certificates for each person involved, Hudson said.
Other advantages of being a record-holder, according to Guinness officials, include logos for use on products, promotions or advertising, personalized editions of the Guinness World Records book and logos for use in print and online.
“I want to thank the whole county for making this happen,” Hudson said. “All the volunteers, officials and everybody who spent time on this: The Kiwanis Club, Emergency Management Services, all the fire departments and Boy Scouts.
“It was definitely a community effort and it took a lot of work for everybody to get this accomplished.”
Hudson said the entire county should be proud of the accomplishment.
At first, he was told to expect a decision about the record attempt in two to four months. When it took more than five months, Hudson said he was about to give up.
“I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs,” he said when the notification arrived.
Do it again?
The only way Hudson said he would consider organizing another marshmallow roasting effort is if a neighboring county bested Marion County’s record.
“Some (other county) might try, and if they did, it would be the only time we would do this again—after all, we would have to defend our record,” he said.
Brownback said he considered the event “fabulous.”
“This is what rural communities have to offer and it is a nice get-together,” he said.
Hudson said he had only one regret when he got the news about the record.
“It was the one time in my life I wish I knew how to tweet,” he said of the social network tool called Twitter.
Hudson said more information will follow when he knows more about what they are allowed to do with this newfound notoriety.