Seattle sets Guinness snowball fight record

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Associated Press

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 12:49 PM

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle residents won a place in the Guinness World Records for the largest snowball fight when about 5,800 people turned out at the Seattle Center in the shadow of the Space Needle to toss snowballs at one another.

More than 30 truckloads of snow were brought in from Cascades for Saturday's event, which included a snow fort building competition and pub crawl. Snow Day was a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County.

The event was witnessed by a Guinness adjudicator who verified a count of 5,834 and presented a record certificate, said a spokeswoman for the Guinness World Records office in New York. Seattle beat the previous record of about 5,400 at a 2010 snowball fight in South Korea.

It took more than three months of planning and high-tech monitoring to make sure an afternoon of fun met Guinness criteria for record-setting, said organizer Neil Bergquist.

About 6,000 tickets were sold online, and participants were given bar-coded wristbands that were scanned as they entered and left the location, so at any time they had an instant count.

Then for the official minute-and-a-half snowball fight there were 130 judges watching for pacifists.

Anyone not throwing snowballs was deducted from the total, Bergquist said Monday.

With that kind of real-time information, it was an easy call for Guinness adjudicator Philip Robertson to declare a record and present a certificate.

Guinness was still updating its website Monday, said spokeswoman Jamie Panas in the New York office.

Bergquist said he got the idea for a snowball fight fundraiser to have fun and raise money for kids "by remembering what it was like to feel like a kid."

It was a side project for Bergquist, who is a director at Surf Incubator, which provides office space, consulting and other resources for tech startups.

After trucking in snow and other costs, the event raised about $50,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs.

"We had a lot of fun, set a Guinness record, raised some money for kids, and everyone had a chance to act like a kid for a day," Bergquist said.

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