Records Break on the Walkway Over the Hudson

June 9, 2012: We did it! Broke the world's longest dance line - stealing the title from Estonia set in 2008. The weather held up right until the end and the 9am dance-off saw cameos from Hudson Valley Renegade's Rascal, the Hudson Valley Roller Derby 'Horror's'' and people young and old (Thomas Gallagher - age 102 - was in attendance) ready to 'shake it all about' for the win! The most shocking moment may have been the "put your whole-self in" jump that shook the Walkway beneath our feet!  The momentum of nearly 200 tons of weight sent a vibration through the cement that us non-participants could feel - a swaying of the giant structure that resembled an earthquake. In the media observation deck a Walkway volunteer explained that it was 'supposed to happen' but that did not calm my heights-fearing photographer Jon Valle - he took one for the team on this - thanks Jon!

We'll be adding his great shots to this piece later today, but did not want to keep our audience from seeing this fantastic video shot by Story Laurie and her team. It really tells the event well, there may even be a quick shot of yours truly! Enjoy!!

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Now THAT’s what it’s all about! A line of 2,569 enthusiastic people danced the Hokey Pokey for more than five minutes at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park on Saturday, June 9th to establish a new Guinness World Record. Creating a line stretching more than a mile across the world’s longest elevated pedestrian park, a diverse array of dancers came from throughout the country to participate in the whimsical fundraiser to support the nonprofit group, Walkway Over the Hudson. Shortly after participants completed the dance, Guinness World Records adjudicator Danny Girton Jr. emerged from a tent at the Walkway’s Center Observation Area and pronounced a new world record for the longest line of dancers. “We did it! This wonderful event has brought together people from the Hudson Valley, the region and beyond,” said Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart.

“Once again this special park and our remarkable organization have demonstrated that anything is possible.” She went on to thank participants, volunteers, staff, and sponsors for their collective accomplishment. Registrants came from more than ten states—including California, Florida, Maine, and Missouri—along with Thomas Gallagher, 102 years old, and several seniors over 90 years of age from The Family Lodge in Saugerties.

Representatives from various Hudson Valley-based companies and organizations also ventured to the Walkway State Park to take part in the “once in a lifetime” event. A team of more than 80 IBM employees, a group from New Horizons Resources, Inc, the entire Hudson Valley Horrors roller derby squad, and numerous school groups participated in the event. Thanks to donations from area sponsors, students from the City of Poughkeepsie and Highland School districts received tickets to participate in the event for free. Walkway officials praised the local businesses for their generous support, which provided free event registration for students from Walkway’s host communities in the City of Poughkeepsie and the Town of Lloyd. The Walkway organization broke the previous Guinness World Record established in June 2008 by 2,354 Estonians performing the “Toe Dance,” an Estonian folk dance. Under the terms established by Guinness World Records, a line comprised of at least 2,355 dancers was needed to perform the Hokey Pokey nonstop for a period of at least five minutes in order to break the record. The event was broadcast live on WEOK (AM 1390) from the center of the bridge.

Volunteers and participants brought hundreds of hand-held radios and “boom boxes” to provide a way for participants to tune in and dance in unison. Participants danced to a rendition of the classic tune created specifically for the event by Hudson Valley singer and storyteller, Laurie “Story Laurie” McIntosh, with help from Rosendale musician and producer Dean Jones. The event served as one of Walkway Over the Hudson’s primary fundraising events for 2012. The nonprofit group works to support the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in numerous ways, including fundraising to build new park amenities, construct a waterfront elevator and a Visitor Center, and providing volunteer Ambassadors to serve as greeters, tour guides, and support park staff.

Sponsors for Walkway’s Guinness World Record attempt include: Cumulus Broadcasting; Poughkeepsie Journal; Hudson Valley Renegades; Pepsi Cola of the Hudson Valley; Corbally, Gartland and Rappleyea; Kearney Realty & Development Inc.; Rose and Kiernan, Inc.; IBM; Marshall & Sterling; Fun Central; Half Time Beverage; Mid-Hudson Civic Center; Dutchess County Tourism; Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Stop & Shop of Hyde Park; A Copy A Second; Minuteman; and Güd Füd.

Aerial Shots courtesy of j anzevino