The Record-Breaking South

The good folks at Guinness have been all over the South documenting the world’s biggest, coolest, strangest and most mind-boggling people and things.  

There’s something about seeing your name in the record books. When you’ve run faster than anyone has ever run, jumped higher than anyone has ever jumped and swam farther than anyone has ever swam, you’re applauded and rightfully celebrated. But when you’ve grown the biggest mohawk in the world, endured the longest handshake ever executed or created the world’s largest flock of lawn flamingoes, there’s only one record book worth talking to: Guinness.

The South has its share of both. Sure, we are home to the GWR holder for busiest airport (ATL, naturally) and at one point the oldest human being (Besse Cooper of Monroe, Georgia who passed away in 201 at the age of 116). But we are also home to the “largest gathering of people dressed as garden gnomes,” 755 to be exact, set in Atlanta in 2018.

And that flock of lawn flamingoes? That’s us, too. Or it was. And will be again.

The notion of even setting a record for largest flock of lawn flamingoes was conceived by Laura Morgan of Bluffton, SC as a fundraiser and publicity magnet for the “Pledge the Pink” ( breast cancer charity she founded. Since she was the first to set the record, she was also tasked with working alongside Guinness to determine what constituted a flock.

“Guinness told us they have to be touching beak to butt, since the record is defined not only by the number of flamingos, but by the linear footage of the line,” said Morgan. Once that was settled, she finally set her record with 1,058 in a great pink mass on Fripp Island.

Then disaster struck the next year when a group of people in Buffalo, New York, beat her record with 1,500 flamingos. It only doubled Morgan’s resolve to take her record back. “Those damn Yankees can’t beat us. And you can quote me on that,” she said, and so we did. She plans on unveiling a flock 5,000 strong, reaching nearly two miles, during this year’s Pledge the Pink, with each flamingo representing a $100 donation to fight breast cancer.

It’s a good cause, but it’s also vindication for the great record-breaking South. •


Biggest, Most, Strangest: The South’s Strangest Records

01. World’s Largest Meatball, Hilton Head Island, SC: This 1707.8-pound meaty monstrosity was created by the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head Island. We assume this was followed by the largest number of people reaching for the Tums simultaneously.

02. Fastest 30m on a Scooter By A Dog, Atlanta, GA: Norman the Briard traveled 30 m on a scooter on the urging of his owner, dog trainer Karen Cobb.

03. Largest Iced Tea, Summerville, SC: Weighing in at a whopping 2,524 gallons, this world record glass of iced tea was brewed using 210 pounds of loose leaf tea and 1,700 pounds of sugar.

04. Longest Freestanding Escalator, Atlanta, GA: Next time you’re in Atlanta, take the CNN Studio Tour and ride the eight stories up this world record holder, which measures just over 193 feet.

05. Heaviest Peach, Fort Valley, GA: Discovered on Pearson Farm, this Early Augustprince peach weighs in at 1 pound, 12 oz. That would make one heck of a cobbler.

06. Longest Barbecue Marathon, Columbus, GA: We’ll forgive the fine people of Columbus for deferring to the Yankee definition of barbecue, serving up 1,000 hotdogs, 200 pieces of corn, 104 pieces of chicken, 558 burgers and 526 boereworse (South African sausage) over the course of three days.

07. Highest Score – American Football (non-NFL), Atlanta, GA: You have to go way back to the leather helmet days with this one, when Georgia Tech piled 222 points on Cumberland University on Oct. 7, 1916.


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