Participants sought to stomp grapes like Lucy - The Buffalo News

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Participants sought to stomp grapes like Lucy

Remember Lucille Ball’s skit where she stomped grapes in a vat while on her Italian vacation?

Well the good people of Jamestown, home of the Lucy Desi Museum and Center for Comedy, want to re-create that scene, but with a lot more people and a lot more grapes, and in the process set a world record for the most people stomping grapes at one time.

The record is 977. The Lucy Desi organization would like to have 1,500 stompers to stomp 20 tons of grapes in one huge vat on Oct. 11.

“The vat won’t be a circle. It will be more of an oval and will take up two city blocks,” said Steve Neilans, communications and marketing coordinator for the center.

And participants are encouraged to dress as Lucille Ball did in the famous episode, although there is no requirement that the stompers be barefoot.

“This is an opportunity for fans to re-enact one of the most famous scenes in television comedy history,” said Journey Gunderson, director of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Center.

“There should be some pretty interesting costumes,” Neilans added.

Volunteers will be posted around the vat to watch for participants and make sure everyone is safe, Neilans said,

An entry ticket is required to participate in the stomping. The $5 price of the ticket includes a souvenir bandana and a beverage.

Washing stations and heaters will be provided for participants so they can warm up and clean the grape juice off their clothing before going on to other events in Jamestown,

The event sponsors also need volunteers to collect the juice.

“We had to get special permission to use Concord grapes,” Neilans said.

He said locally grown grapes also will produce plenty of purple stains.

The world record requirements will be watched by spotters. Everyone must stomp grapes simultaneously for three minutes in the vat. The juice from the stomping also must be measured to conform to Guinness guidelines, Gunderson said. Teams of 10 and 20 people who sign up to stomp grapes will receive special photographs and posters of the event.

The grape stomping is just one of the events planned for the weekend of Oct. 11-12.

Bob Newhart will be the featured performer at the historic Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, also on Oct. 11.

The 2014 Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K also are planned.

Tickets for Newhart and entry forms for the race are available online.

“Having a legend like Bob Newhart perform in Jamestown further proves that our city celebrates the best in comedy like no other,” Gunderson said. “There is an excited buzz in the community, and we’re looking forward to another great night of comedy that people will remember for years to come.”

Newhart’s performance comes only months after the 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival headlined by Jay Leno, and groundbreaking of Comedy Center Park, the first phase in the building of the complex that will be the National Comedy Center.

The October celebration weekend is in its second year in Jamestown. Martin Short was the headliner of the inaugural 2013 Lucy Town Half Marathon & 5K weekend.

In addition to the grape stomping, a 5K run/walk, kids run, 13.1-mile half marathon and sports expo are planned. The 5K run/walk and kids run will take place on Oct. 11, and the second annual Lucy Town Half Marathon will take place on Oct. 12. There is also a hockey game featuring the Southern Tier Xpress.

The USATF-certified, half-marathon course, which begins and ends in Jamestown, runs through the neighboring towns of Lakewood and Celoron. The course travels near the childhood home of Lucille Ball and past the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, the world’s largest “I Love Lucy” mural painted by artists Gary Peters Jr. and Gary Peters Sr., and Lucille Ball Memorial Park. The 2014 Lucy Town Half Marathon is the USATF Niagara Half Marathon Championship.

Univera Healthcare is the presenting sponsor for the weekend’s events.

Local support for the race weekend also has been provided by WCA Hospital, Jamestown Area Medical Associates, Jamestown Pediatric Associates, Shults Auto Group, the Legend Group, Northwest Savings Bank, Wegmans, Jamestown Primary Care, and Time Warner Cable News.

Lucy Town organizers are still seeking groups or individuals to serve as event volunteers. No running experience is necessary as there are a wide variety of roles needed for the weekend event.

Positions may be available for an array of skills and interest, ranging from registering athletes and distributing information, to providing course refreshments at water and food stations.

For more information or to sign up, visitwww.lucyrace.com.

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