SCRUGGS — Just off the beach at Bernard's Landing on Saturday, 1,257 floaters held hands in a show of solidarity and in an attempt to break a 2014 Guinness World Record for the most people floating in a line.
The event was part of Smith Mountain Lake's 50th anniversary celebration and an effort to break the record, set June 28, 2014 at Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, Taiwan, by the Harley Owners Group Taiwan Chapter (Chinese Taipei). According to the Guinness World Record website, 634 people participated in that float.
By all accounts, the Franklin County Family YMCA topped that; however, the YMCA won't know for another two months if the record was in fact broken, according to Lauren Acker, branch director of the Smith Mountain Lake location.
"It takes a long time to get it approved," she said.
After signing a waiver, each participant was given a numbered bib and video-recorded entering the beach area through an official gateway. Once in the water, participants were asked to float atop the tubes or rafts they brought along, and hold hands with those floating next to them.
Participants were asked to hold their position for several minutes to ensure that the event was recorded. A helicopter with a videographer and photographer captured the scene from the sky, while three independent witnesses, a requirement by Guinness, were on the ground to validate it.
It took two separate attempts for participants to hold hands in a continuous chain. On the second attempt, participants held their position for 90 seconds, cheering after time was up.
Once it's known that the record was, in fact, broken, Acker said the Franklin County YMCA will host a party to celebrate.
"We'll have a follow-up event," she said. "It'll be like a reveal party and we'll invite the participants to come."