June 13th, 2012
Walkway dancers set a Guinness world record
A line of 2,569 people set a new Guinness World Record on June 9, 2012 by dancing the Hokey Pokey for over five minutes at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. Photo courtesy of/J. ANZEVINO
Poughkeepsie - 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 9, 2012 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 the participants completed the dance, Guinness World Records adjudicator Danny Girton, Jr. declared that a new world record for the longest line of dancers had been set.
“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.
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 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.
Thanks to sponsor donations, students from the City of Poughkeepsie and Highland School districts received tickets to participate in the event for free.
The Walkway organization broke the previous Guinness World Record established in June 2008 by 2,354 Estonians performing 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.