Guinness rejects Gillette sparkler claim on technicality

GILLETTE — Gillette’s attempt in August to set a Guinness World Record for the most lit sparkler event ever was not recognized due to a technicality.

On Aug. 10, the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau partnered with Gillette Main Street to try to break the world record for most sparklers lit simultaneously as a way to kick off the Pyrotechnics Guild International’s 50th annual convention.

More than 1,700 people showed up to the event and 2,500 sparklers were lit, which would have been enough to break the record, which is 1,713. But Guinness had a problem with the way the sparklers were lit.

Christen Burdette, event and sales coordinator for the visitors center, said Guinness was “very impressed” and “said we did a great job,” but that unfortunately the effort didn’t count.

Basic guidelines are listed on the Guinness website, but the specific guidelines were not received prior to the attempt. Those required each participant to light their own sparklers.

The event had an apparatus for lighting multiple sparklers custom built by students and instructors at Gillette College for each group. Volunteers with torches lit the sparklers and handed them out to participants.

“It’s a bummer, but that just means we have to do it again,” Burdette said.

“As disappointing as it is to miss eligibility on a technicality, it just goes to show the spirit of the people of Gillette,” said Jessica Seders, director of both Gillette Main Street and the visitors center, in a press release. “Despite the cold wind and rain that hit them, participants stayed and joined in the attempt.

“Campbell County residents never back down from a challenge. If they get knocked down, they regroup, get back up, and tackle the problem a different way,” Seders said. “I know our next attempt will be a success for all of Gillette.”

The visitors center and Gillette Main Street are already planning for attempt No. 2 this summer, with improvements to the event including streamlined registration and lighting processes.

“Once we can work out those little details, I think we can totally blow it out of the water,” Burdette said.

To grow the event, they will provide more activities for participants to enjoy between registration and the official sparkler lighting. With safety being their highest concern, organizers are working on a way to include the whole family, but also meeting the requirement that each person must get their own sparkler lit.

“We’ll probably have to get something a little easier to light, with a regular lighter,” Burdette said. “I don’t want 1,800 people with blow torches lighting it up all at once.”