LaughFest kicked off last night, with another world record – this time for the amount of people wearing sunglasses in the dark at one venue.
The official count was 1,675 people participants at Rosa Parks Circle, beating the past world record set at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill. in July 2012.
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell was among the participants and he helped kick off the event along with the president of Gilda’s Club, Wendy Wigger.
“The best thing about LaughFest is how awesome it is to have a festival that’s not only good for you, but for a good cause,” Wigger said. “…the bottom line is, we know laughter is good for you and the best thing you can do is pass your smile on to somebody else.”
Michael Radner, Gilda Radner’s brother was present as well.
“Gilda knew laughter was important when she was dealing with her cancer,” he said. “First you cry, and then you have a choice. You’re either going to cry or you’re going to laugh. She realized laughter was the answer to basic emotional health.”
After the first attempt for the world record, officials realized that there were not enough people at Rosa Parks Circle to beat the record, and in fact they were about 100 people short. Wigger said as encouragement for people participating to stay and wait for 100 more to join was, “anybody can set a record in July in the summer. It takes a real Michigander to do it in the middle of the winter.”
People in the crowd, regardless of the weather, were all very excited to be there. Lotoska V. Mosely, a participant said, “I wouldn’t have missed (this event) for the world. I think we should embrace the winter.”
Erik Wolenberg, marketing manager for Gilda’s club said, “I’m excited about everything. It’s cool seeing the entire community coming together and laugh and smile together. The whole message behind LaughFest is to spread the emotional health message, get people together, get them out and get them laughing.”
After the second count, Grand Rapids beat the Chicago record by 33 people. The sunglasses for the event were provided by Baudville.
For more information on other LaughFest events, please visit www.laughfestgr.org.