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Thursday, October 18, 2012
Popping Their Way Into History

Popping Their Way Into History

 

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

The world is full of universal truths. One of the tastiest and simplest is that popcorn brings people together. That’s why Cincinnati State Technical and Community College capped off its month-long student appreciation activities by making the World’s Longest Popcorn Chain. In just three hours, 56 volunteers created a popcorn string that was 910 feet long. But more than just making history, it was about bringing the students, staff, and community together and putting Cincinnati State on the map.

“I heard about it and thought it sounded like fun and it was something very different. You only get to be part of history maybe once in your life,” Krissy Paddock, a Cincinnati State employee, said.

No one knew quite what to expect going into it, but as the day progressed the more attention the activity received and the more people were excited. Local news and radio stations came, as did Cincinnati Councilman Cecil Thomas. Godzilla played in the background, but you could barely hear it over the laughter and chatter. Students took breaks between exams, and even those who couldn’t attend stopped in their tracks to see such an unusual sight.

The idea started with Brenda Maples-Sterry, Director of Student Activities. It began with a simple plan for green popcorn on St. Patrick’s Day and grew into a campus-wide effort once they realized the potential. They popped 50 lbs. of raw Monster Mushroom corn, which was donated by Gold Medal Products Co., off and on for a week. The large barrels of popcorn quickly disappeared as everyone threaded individual 3-foot strands, which were then tied together to make the 910-foot final strand. It also quickly became a fun rivalry with the flurry of fingers flying and trash talking. Each person tried to beat the clock and each other to claim top bragging rights—one student even completed 33 strands for 99 feet.

Volunteers string individual 3-foot strands of popcorn.

The students are hard at work.

Director of Student Activities Brenda Maples-Sterry and the volunteers from the Student Activities office are interviewed by the local news.

Creating the World’s Longest Popcorn Strand.

Retired Kentucky Colonel Cecil R. Rogers served as a Judge for the Guinness record attempt.

Getting ready to take the final strand outside.

The volunteer group.

Stretching out the 910-foot strand.


Everything was caught on film by Cincinnati State and Gold Medal employees to meet Guinness World Records’ strict guidelines for record acceptance. The group took multiple photographs, recorded the session, measured the chain throughout the process, and had four community volunteers to serve as a judge, a surveyor, and two observers. The entire course takes months from the lengthy application to the review process, and Cincinnati State still awaits the official verdict. But for the Student Activities department and Campus President Dr. O'dell M. Owens the pride is already apparent and the true measure of success was the students’ excitement.

“The students need a release from exams and classes. We are the fun office, but we also bring the community together with speakers and other engaging programs. It’s about them.” Mary Beth Barnes, Student Activities/Adm., noted and smiled while watching the bubbly group stretch out the final strand.

In the end, the group was linked by one popcorn strand, a chance to go down in history, and the memory of a quirky activity that turned into a party.