SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Shreveport Aquarium is leading an effort to smash the world record for the longest Mexican wave line, taking advantage of the large crowds expected for the upcoming Mardi Gras parades.
"We really want to make a splash," said Jake Wood, the spokesperson for the Shreveport Aquarium.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the current record is from 2007, with 8,453 people participating. Crowds at the parades for Gemini and Centaur could top 200,000 people.
"Most people will think 'oh this is easy to break in a stadium or something like that.' This record isn't designed for that. It's designed for a line that is as straight as possible. And with the attendance, we expect at both of these parades. we'll blow that record out of the water," said Wood.
The two separate attempts will take place around 3 - 3:30 p.m. right before the Centaur Mardi Gras Parade on February 18 and again just ahead of the Gemini Mardi Gras Parade on February 25 and involve all the people along Clyde Fant Parkway who are waiting along the route from the Sci-Port museum all the way to the turn onto Shreveport Barksdale Highway.
But to make the attempt, they will need about 300 volunteers.
"Our largest volunteer group is going to be what we call our stewards, and the stewards will be responsible for passing out the wristbands. Because each participant that is doing the wave has to be wrist-banded and we have to sign off on that because we have to submit that to an auditing firm once we're complete with the record. It's a pretty in-depth process. So the more volunteers we have to help pass the wrist bands out and to make sure that everything is being done according to the rules that Guinness sets forth, the better."
Once the attempts are made, there will be a lot of evidence gathering by the aquarium leaders. They have to gather video, photos, and signatures and send the wristband list off to an auditing company. Once all that is gathered, they will compile all of the evidence and send it in a package to the Guinness Book of World Records' headquarters in England, which will go through the evidence to certify a record has been set.
"It parallels the concept behind the aquarium in that the success of the aquarium along with this record is in the hands of the community and the community's support. We want to be that fixture for education and experience for downtown Shreveport. And we want to show that not only we want folks to come to us for that, but we want to be invested in the community as well."
If you want to be a volunteer, all you need to do is sign up on the aquarium's website. All volunteers get a free t-shirt. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and available from noon until 4 p.m.
Participation in the record-breaking attempt is open to all ages.
This year at parades across Northwest Louisiana, you may also want to keep an eye out for some special throws from the Shreveport Aquarium. Krewes have been given a very limited amount of special medallion throws with the Shreveport Aquarium's emblem on them. If you catch one of those, read the back of the medallion for directions to register for a special preview event for the aquarium before it opens.