By Ellen Hill
A storm, persistent rain and a cold snap could not dampen the determination of hundreds of “flappers’’ and “gangsters’’ who smashed the world record for the most costumed people dancing the Charleston in the Blue Mountains today.
More than 280 people from as far afield as the NSW Far North Coast, Queensland and even New York dressed in 1920s gear gathered in Leura Mall eager to high kick the previous record set at the Vintage Swing Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in April 2008 with 250 dancers.
While it will take about six weeks to have the record confirmed by Guinness Book of World Records in England, challenge organisers were confident the attempt would be validated through the copious amount of evidence required to prove the event.
Festival director Sandy Luxford said: “I was very confident a new world record would be set this year when more than 170 people turned out for the first record attempt in 2012 and the signs were very encouraging when, two days before the challenge more than half the required participants had registered already.’’
There were many nervous moments when a severe storm blew through the Blue Mountains on Friday night, followed by consistent rain throughout Saturday morning until almost Charleston Challenge time.
“However, hundreds of people turned up at the last minute, which was just wonderful considering the ghastly weather,’’ Ms Luxford said.
“We think we set a new record. The numbers were there. We just have to get the attempt validated.
“I congratulate and thank everyone who braved the chilly day and refused to allow the rain to dampen their enthusiasm – well done.’’
Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker congratulated all involved, particularly the Charleston Challenge participants, Ms Luxford, festival founder Kate Faithorn and ambassador and vintage clothing collection owner Charlotte Smith.
“We have many firsts in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region – a World Heritage Area with the oldest trees in the world (the Wollemi pines), the oldest cave system at Jenolan Caves, the steepest railway at Scenic World, the most visited location in NSW (the Three Sisters at Echo Point), and the Blue Mountains is the first tourist destination in Australia. Now we have a Guinness World Record.’’
Ms Smith said it was great to see “so many diaphanous dresses’’ and other period outfits, especially in the “interesting’’ weather conditions.
The event officially launched Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism’s Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz to be held at various venues throughout the region during February.
The challenge was also attended by Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles, and Blue Mountains State MP Roza Sage and Macquarie Federal MP Louise Markus who danced in the challenge.
Go to http://www.roaring20s.com.au for details and bookings of other Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz events.