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Mt. Lebanon aims to set Guinness record for balloon hats

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon will try to set a world record on Saturday night, as volunteers try to get at least 4,018 people to wear balloon hats during the annual ULTRAparty fundraiser.

“ULTRAparty's fun, a good time, but it needed something else to refresh it,” said Eric Milliron, Mt. Lebanon's commercial districts manager and an event coordinator.

The seventh ULTRAparty will close Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon's Uptown business district from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, and will raise money for the Mt. Lebanon Partnership's Accessible Lebo fund to make public amenities more accessible for people with disabilities.

The record for people in one place donning balloon hats is 4,017, set in 2007 at the opening ceremonies for the Utah Summer Games in Cedar City, Milliron said.

Mt. Lebanon will use free numbered wristbands to keep a count of people participating in the record attempt. Three cameras will film the crowd, and an estimate will be provided by a member of the community's police department, Milliron said.

Everyone will be asked to don their hats by 9 p.m. If enough people are there and wearing their hats by 9:05, documentation will be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for verification as a new record.

“I wouldn't be supporting this if I didn't think we had a shot,” Milliron said. “We've drawn about 3,000 people to previous ULTRAparties.”

Members of the Cheswick-based Syria Shriners will use an air compressor on Thursday to start inflating 12,000 to 14,000 balloons, which the partnership purchased for the event.

They'll make them into about 4,100 hats inside the Denis Theatre, said Rob Brinkley, a Shriner who performs as “Splotchee” the clown.

All but about 1,000 hats will be preassembled, to make it easier on the Shriners attending on Saturday in full clown costume.

Brinkley, 55, of South Buffalo said this would be the most balloons the Shriners ever have assembled for one event.

“When we came up with the gimmick of a world record attempt ... we started contacting every clown in Pennsylvania that does balloons,” said Jeff Weiner, owner of Eden's Market and a member of the Mt. Lebanon Partnership. “The Shriners have been absolutely phenomenal.”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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