Getting into the Guinness World Book of Records
may seem like an overly-ambitious goal for some, but reaching for the stars is just part of how Marine City
's Gary Kohs and Laura Scaccia do business. Their "glass half full" attitude and knack for community-building is well-known in Marine City; the couple owns the successful Mariner Theater
, home to the Titanic: Making of an Icon.
Their goal for the challenge (besides a world record)? "I want Marine City to be treated as Metro Detroit," Kohs says.
"If you listen to the news," says Scaccia, "you'll hear about Clarkston
, which is only three miles
closer, but you’ll never hear about Marine City."
The couple hopes the event will draw people from across Southeast Michigan to see the revitalization of Marine City first-hand. The riverfront town has been on a steady upward climb, with business owners clamoring for space along the main streets of Water and Broadway streets.
The campaign is called Pumpkins, Popcorn and Politics
. A mass pumpkin carving will take place on Oct. 15, with 1,200 pumpkins set to go under the knife. (To top the world record, they need 1,062.)
A second record-breaking attempt will be held the next day, when contestants try to make a one-mile long strand of popcorn. "To make it even more exciting, we will try connecting the USA to Canada with the string," said Kohs. Marine City has its own Canadian connection in the center of town, via the Bluewater International Ferry
. The completed strand will be secured on the U.S. side and taken across the water to Canada via boat.
A natural byproduct of the world-record attempt, Scaccia says, is how it promotes community. What could be more unifying than gathering people at a park to work toward a common goal?
They are also encouraging organizations to participate together, she says. "It can be a real team builder for teens, organizations or families to do as a group." Even politicians are signing up, says Scaccia, laughing. "It is Pumpkins, Popcorn and Politics," she says. "We don’t endorse anyone but we want to get everyone out to vote."
in East China, owned by Jennifer and David Vandenbossche, are making sure their crop of pumpkins and corn for the popcorn will be ready on time.
The pumpkins will be set up at Nautical Mile Park in Marine City, waiting for their makeovers into clowns and happy jack o’lanterns (and devils and zombies). Contestants can order pumpkin-carving kits in advance at Pumpkins, Popcorn and Politics
or by calling (810) 765-4501. The same goes for the popcorn strings.
There will be a regular check-in and pumpkin carving area assignments the day of the event and carving begins at 12:30 sharp, says Kohs. The kit will include a pumpkin, carving kit, tea light, plastic bag, certificate and a Guinness World Record attempt sticker. To up the ante, there will be prizes for best-carved pumpkins. That night, the pumpkins will illuminate the sidewalks, river's edge, and will be displayed on straw bales in the park. Carved pumpkins will remain in the park until the next day at 2 p.m., then the carvers will be able to take them home.
Popcorn kits include everything needed to create a 100-foot popcorn string, including popcorn, string, needles and a floater. There is no cost for the popcorn kit, but participants still need to reserve their spot online or by phone.
The Nov. 8 election voter turnout is also part of the competition. Local students are working on getting the highest voter turnout in any city in Michigan, and maybe even the country, Kohs says.
With all this activity happening, surely Marine City deserves at least a nod from WDIV
? Kohs plans on visiting local news outlets in person to ensure that Marine City gets the attention it deserves, he says.