The Guinness Book of World Records credits 1,036 Colgate University students with playing Twister for three and a half hours on May 5, 1984.
Fine, says Yvette Hanzel, campaign associate for the Western Reserve Historical Society, but when The Biggest Twister Party Ever takes place Friday at Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, expect more than a mangled mass of chiropractic appointments waiting to happen.
"We're not just focusing on the Twister game, but anything with a "twist' in it," says Hanzel, who is confident the festive program will be "different from those of old, stodgy historical societies."
The 1950s- and '60s-themed fund-raiser will be presented by the Time Chasers, WRHS's young professionals group, and is just the second event for these new riders of the rapidly growing wave of professional groups. But so what if the Time Chasers can't even recall that era? If disco is revivable among the younger set, reasons Hanzel, the age of soda fountains, bobby socks, and ponytails should be just as easy to resurrect.
"We're trying to reach that audience that's a combination of Generation X and Baby Boomers," she says. "We discovered this is a niche we're not getting." Hanzel, who co-organized the event with WRHS Membership Manager Nada DiFranco, says she didn't care for the recent results of a survey showing that historical society patrons are most likely to be on elementary school field trips or nursing home outings.
Hanzel says the Time Chasers are fed up with cutbacks in funding for the arts and cultural programs. Should all go according to plan, proceeds from ticket sales and membership fees will help provide underprivileged students with transportation to WRHS-sponsored events.
"We serve 12 counties, so that money goes for them, as well as for education and supplies for our programs here," says Hanzel. Besides, "It'll be fun to be serving tacky appetizers, cherry cola, deviled eggs, and green Jell-O."
The fun feast will also include an authentic soda fountain, a tongue-twisting spelling bee, and a DJ spinning twist and limbo tunes, with nonstop, funnel-filled film clips from The Wizard of Oz and Twister serving as the backdrop to the festival atmosphere.
As Hanzel puts it, "We're just trying to mix history into entertainment" -- an educational twist that'll make you shout. -- Jeff Woodard
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