Organizers of the 15th annual Taste of Lockport food festival wanted to celebrate the city’s 150th birthday in record-breaking style Sunday afternoon. They tried to, at least.
The idea was simple: Break the Guinness World Record for “Most people singing in a live radio broadcast.” The song of choice was Thomas Allen’s “Low Bridge,” an ode to the Erie Canal written in 1905.
Lockport needed almost 7,000 people to enter Guinness history and break the world record. Instead, the official tally was 2,511 singers.
Despite falling short, the event’s organizer remained upbeat.
“The City of Lockport came out and they supported it,” said, Jen Serrano, of Jenny Marketing Group. Jenny Marketing Group was hired by the Lockport Business Association to run the Taste of Lockport this year, and Serrano helped put together the record-breaking attempt.
“We may have not hit the number, but I think it brought us all together to celebrate something that is important: The sesquicentennial,” she said.
The record-breaking attempt was the finale of the city’s 150th birthday celebrations, which began June 27. The Lockport Business Association had even moved the Taste of Lockport from its normal August date to properly cap off the events.
The performance was broadcast at about 4:15 p.m. by 92.9 Jack FM, which also had a drone in the air to film the event.
On hand to verify the number were two independent auditors, Joseph Klimek and David Spara from Toski & Co., and an adjudicator from Guinness World Records, Buffalo native Michael Empric.
Empric explained Guinness’ criteria for a world record.
First, the auditors would count how many people entered an area cordoned off with police tape. That would be the baseline number.
From there, stewards would subtract from that number when a person wandered away from the square or anybody was spotted not singing. For the record to count, everybody needed to be singing the correct lyrics for the entire two-and-a-half-minute song, which was performed and led by Blood Money, a local band.
To help, organizers had printed thousands of copies of the lyrics to hand out to participants, not all of whom knew the tune.
And although the attempt didn’t draw the necessary thousands, participants still had fun.
“It’s a beautiful day, and it brought a lot of people out,” said lifelong Lockport resident Jinny Mulvey, 68. “It’s a nice way to celebrate.”
The record will remain in the hands of 6,904 festivalgoers who sang “Let it Go” - from Disney’s “Frozen” - on June 29 at Hyde Park in London.
But Sunday’s event wasn’t just about setting records, adjudicator Empric said.
“What this day was really about was celebrating this community, and I think that everybody who came here today really did that and had a great time doing it,” he said.