Conch Blowing Feat Now an Official World Record
It was nearly 60 years ago when the first Guinness Book of World Records was published in London. Now Long Beach Island has finally gotten an entry into the popular reference volume, for breaking the record for the most people blowing a conch shell note simultaneously. That was accomplished last Sept. 29 at Things A-Drift/Echoes of LBI in Ship Bottom, where 258 gathered to attempt the the feat during Chowderfest Weekend. Cheryl Kirby, Things-A-Drift owner, said the previous record was 235, set in Key West, Fla.
“As far as anybody knows, this is a first for Long Beach Island,” said Kirby, who recently received her official record-holder certificate. “And it’s great publicity for LBI, considering everything that has happened due to (Superstorm) Sandy.”
She plans to put up a banner in front of her business signifying the record, and looks forward to seeing it in print when the 2014 edition is published. Since 2000, the book goes by the name Guinness World Records
“That was a pretty hectic day,” she said. “I bought 400 conch shells to make sure we had enough for the record. Some people bought triton shells, which make a nice sound, but they would be disqualified. Only conch shells counted.”
Kirby said she also found out the process of verifying a record with the Guinness publishers is no walk on the beach.
“It took about six months,” she said. “It required two lawyers, six auditors, two videographers and two still photographs. We needed to have the proper credentials and the verification that the people who signed up to attempt the record were actually there. It took a lot of paperwork to produce the evidence, but considering we got the record, it was certainly worth it.”
The shore area is not a complete stranger to the Guiness book. In fact, one week after the conch feat, the record for the most participants in a zombie walk (15,000) was set in Asbury Park. In March last year, the record for the largest meat and potato pie (1,800 pounds) was set in Wildwood.
On New Year’s Eve 2010, MTV and the cast of “Jersey Shore” coordinated a record for the most people simultaneously pumping fists (5,726) in Times Square.
Does Kirby have something in mind for an encore for the 2013 Chowderfest Weekend? She’s thinking of creating a new record category – largest gathering of people with Hawaiian shirts.
“I’m going to shoot for 300,” she said. “Once you’ve made it into the record books, you feel like trying it again.”
— Eric Englund