Congratulations, Marion County! Whether the effort is acknowledged by Guinness World Records, turnout for the marshmallow roast Saturday at Marion County Park and Lake was fantastic.
The final tally, not including all of the volunteers that made the event possible, was 1,272 participants. That’s more than the population of Washington, Kan., where I grew up. For more than an hour after the gates opened, it looked like turnout might be disappointing. But a late surge of people swelled the crowd well past Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson’s goal of 1,000 participants. The sight of that many people congregating around a single bonfire was quite a spectacle.
I was disappointed that nobody made a fundraiser of selling graham crackers and chocolate bars for s’mores as people exited the area with their marshmallows. Nonetheless, Circles of Hope and Central Station youth center did a good job piggybacking fundraising efforts on the marshmallow roast, selling commemorative T-shirts and concessions, respectively.
Hudson and the rest of the Park and Lake staff deserve credit for finding a creative solution to a mundane problem — what to do with the pile of debris from last summer’s windstorm that scoured the lake. And then they seriously pursued the solution.
It wouldn’t have worked out if they were the only ones who took it seriously, though. The people of Marion County volunteered, participated, and invited friends to help set a mark that hopefully will last many years.
If the record doesn’t hold up for long, at least now we have experience that could prove useful in retaking the record.
— Adam Stewart