Coeur d’Alene wants to host the world’s largest snowball fight this weekend.
Bill Greenwood, Coeur d’Alene Parks director, expects only a few hundred people to show up to the planned snowball fight at 3 p.m. Saturday at McEuen Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
“It’s a lofty goal,” he said. “I doubt that’s really going to happen.”
It’s more of a way to see if the community wants to build momentum to organize a big enough event to break the record, he said.
“If this is going to be something that starts to snowball – no pun intended – we would get more organized to go after it,” he said.
Greenwood is expecting the snowball fight to last about 15 minutes, he said, and the city is going to clear out a safe zone for the battle, where snowbanks can be used for cover.
He is asking people to bring a can of food to donate and protective eyewear for safety.
So, what does it take to host the world’s largest snowball fight?
Canada’s South Saskatchewan River cuts through Saskatoon, a city in central Canada. It’s on the bank of that river, at a public park, where the record was broken on a snowy January day in 2016.
“People were shoulder to shoulder,” organizer Kim Ali said.
The official Guinness Book of World Records count is 7,681 participants for the snowball fight on Jan. 31, but Ali said there was double that number.
Since Guinness had to keep track of everyone, workers had to strap wristbands on everyone in the fight, and they only brought 8,000 wristbands, Ali said. And in addition, Guinness made everyone sign a waiver.
That made the record appear smaller, she said.
And organizing it was no easy task.
“There was a very strong team of volunteers who put their heads together,” she said.
It was held at the same time as the city’s WinterShines Festival, a celebration that features igloo building, ice castles, a snow park and a soup cook-off.
The snowball fight was organized with Guinness World Record workers present to supervise. Guinness World Records also required one volunteer per 50 people in the snowball fight.
Organizers hosted the snowball fight and featured a team of professional Canadian athletes. The team was about to head to Japan the next month to compete in the Yukigassen World Championship – a professional snowball fighting competition.
Ali said the conditions of the snowball fight saw a couple of feet of snow.
“It was a bit warm the week before. We had to get the city to break up the snow so we could use snowballs,” she said.
The fight took about 3 minutes, she said, and no one was reported injured.
People in winter coats stood in a taped-off area and threw handfuls of snow at their neighbors.
“It was so much fun,” she said.
Saskatoon’s snowball fight took about two months to organize, she said, and after the event it took about six months for Guinness to confirm it was the new record.
Coeur d’Alene, a city with a population about one-fifth the size of Saskatoon, may not be ready for that commitment, Greenwood said.
“We may beat the record in the future,” he said, “but not our first time out.”
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