Athens Grease Festival organizers are frying up a batch of fun for this year’s third annual event, and the fun may put downtown Athens on the menu to make history.
In June, the Guinness Book of World Records approved a “Largest Toga Party” attempt by the Athens Grease Festival on Sept. 27.
“Our festival draws up to 5,000 people, so if everyone would wear a white toga, Athens could set this world record,” Spirit of Athens Director Trisha Black said.
According to Guinness, Australia currently is home to the record with 3,700 toga wearing participants. The University of Queensland Union and Queensland University of Technology Guild set that record on Feb. 24, 2012.
To collect verification, festival organizers will institute a counting system, such as numbered wrist bands. Organizers will also take group photos and time stamped video. Witness statements, such as statements from the Athens Police Department regarding attendance numbers, can also be submitted.
A designated time will be set for the photo and video. Organizers still are discussing when to schedule it.
“This is already a fun-filled festival with activities like seeing how far competitors can toss a frozen turkey and how people accessorize their togas such as going country with boots and cowboys hats or Southern gentleman with bow ties,” said Festival Chairwoman Betsy Hyman. “Adding a world record attempt for largest toga party is like discovering the last fried pie after Sunday dinner at your grandmother’s.”
The Spirit of Athens hosted the first Athens Grease Festival in 2012 as a celebration of all things fried and the Greek origin of the city’s name. The Limestone County Courthouse with its Greek revival architecture and the historic Square serve as the backdrop for this one day of the year when food lovers can splurge.
“As we try to tell everyone, eat responsibly the other 364 days of the year,” Hyman said. “It’s OK to splurge occasionally and enjoy the art of Southern cooking.”
Specifications for setting Guinness Book of World Record
● All participants must wear their own toga costume and cannot be shared between two people.
● A toga can be made by a long sheet or any other material than can form a toga.
● The toga costume must be white in color.
● All participants must be in position simultaneously and remain so for a minimum of five minutes.