Alex Angert is a records manager for Guinness World Records, specializing in achievements having to do with mass participation -- that is, a lot of people doing something record-breaking together. He shares a monthly report with us, and here's June:
Trends in record breaking usually make sense. For instance, we can always count on an increase in applications for the most people dressed as Santa Claus in December or most people carving pumpkins around Halloween.
But sometimes, a record just takes off. And for some unbeknownst reason, a certain mass participation record has taken 2014 by storm – the most people popping bubble wrap.
It has been one of our most popular and successful records of the year, as more and more applications have been popping up for this record each month. OK, I promise I won’t populate this entire column with bubble wrap-popping puns.
While the timing of this record-breaking phenomenon is a mystery, the popularity of it is not. Everyone, both young and old, loves popping bubble wrap. There is no denying the pure joy of having a package come in the mail filled with bubble wrap just begging to be popped, instead of its ugly step-sister, the packing peanut.
The guidelines for this record are as straightforward as it gets. All you need is a lot of people and a lot of bubble wrap for them to pop for at least two minutes simultaneously.
The record category, which is relatively new, was first set on 28 January 2013 on "Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day." There, 366 people came together in Hawthorne, New Jersey, USA, which is considered the birthplace of bubble wrap.
Sealed Air Corporation, which was founded in 1960 based on the invention of bubble wrap three years earlier, and Hawthorne High School held that record for more than a year before the bubble bursting boom of 2014 exploded.
In a span of three months, from the end of February to the end of May, the record has fallen an unbelievable six times to six different schools from all parts of the globe.
Some poppers opted to go the stomping route, while others popped each bubble individually with their fingers. A few of the schools passed out individual sheets of wrap, while others had giant bubble wrap bales rolled out onto the ground.
The first group to break the record in 2014 was the University of Florida’s Bateman Team and Student Government (USA) with 399 participants. In the ensuing three months, the Bramley Church of England Primary School (UK) got 532 people to pop, Gonzaga College SJ (Ireland) got 550, Riverside Primary School (Australia) got 647 and West Scranton Intermediate School (USA, above) got 733. All have held the record at some point, whether it was for only a day or for a few weeks.
The most recent and current record holder is Twin Lakes Elementary School (below) in Elk River, Minnesota, USA, thanks to the support of 942 students, staff and volunteers from the community who came out to pop bubble wrap. Bringing the record full circle, they popped wrap donated by the original record holders, Sealed Air Corporation.
There is no telling how long Twin Lakes Elementary will hold the record with more and more applications for this category coming in each week. Some record crazes come and go (the most people planking craze of 2011, for instance), but we here at Guinness World Records are excited to see how many more schools and organizations decide to challenge this one in the coming months. Will someone dethrone the current record holder? Only time will tell.
And if bubble wrap isn’t your thing, you and your friends can always try another mass participation popping record. Balloons, party poppers and even collars are some of our other pop-ular records your school or group can attempt. OK, ok, I hate to burst your bubble, but that is a wrap on all of the puns until next month’s Mass Participation Monday.
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