WAPAKONETA — The city of Wapakoneta is taking advantage of today to make an attempt to leap its way into the record books.
Searching for ways to continue the momentum of last summer’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the First on the Moon committee came up with One Giant Leap Day — an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people gathered in one area dressed as astronauts.
At 10:56 a.m., all participants will be led in a giant leap together to celebrate Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon at 10:56 p.m.
“We decided that it’s a leap year, so why not do something,” said Deb Fischer, president of the First on the Moon Committee and Riverside Art Center. “We found out there is a Guinness Book of World Record set with 257 dressed as astronauts all in one location. We thought why not do it on leap day and why not shoot for 300 and break the record.”
Guinness World Records defines an astronaut costume as an “all-body encompassing spacesuit worn by an individual for travel in outer space.” Knowing not everybody has a spacesuit gathering dust in the back of their closet, the city has rallied together to help people of all ages create their own.
Riverside Art Center and Casa Chic have opened their doors to participants and offered supplies to make a DIY suit. Committee members have recommended using paint smocks or anything else that may resemble a white jumpsuit. Aluminum foil or duct tape has been the go-to to wrap bike helmets, milk jugs and boots to complete the look. Supplies will also be on hand Saturday morning.
“In the last week, we’ve had people post pictures of themselves and send them to us because we’re having a contest,” Fischer said. “You’d think it would be all kids but, no, it’s all ages so that’s super fun.”
Much more goes into setting a world record than just putting together a costume, however. Jessica Muhlenkamp, executive director for the United Way of Auglaize County and First on the Moon treasurer submitted the online form to Guinness and realized setting a record is much more complicated.
“It actually takes 12 weeks to hear back from Guinness, so unfortunately because they are so busy, we are still in queue and didn’t get the list of what a costume should look like, but we do have a pretty good assessment of what they expect,” Muhlenkamp said. “They offered to provide a world record judge to come, but we weren’t able to afford it between the fee and travel, so instead they asked us to record it.”
The committee has secured a photographer to capture the moment both in stills and in a drone video and volunteer witnesses.
“We’re going to have people register when they arrive to get an easy headcount. Everyone will get a number and the plan is when we take the photo, everyone will be holding up their number for a visual count of people,” Muhlenkamp explained. “If it works out that we don’t have enough people or meet the suit requirements, we can always circle back next year.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.