Organizers hope to set world record for the most snow angels at UMD on Saturday
Duluth is about to take Bismarck's challenge lying down.
With its arms and legs waving in the snow.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, thousands of people will lie in the snow on athletic fields at the University of Minnesota Duluth, trying to make enough snow angels at once to get into Guinness World Records. In the process, they'll raise tens of thousands of dollars to help provide clean drinking water for an indigenous people in Ethiopia.
The "Make Your Mark: Angels for a Cause" event is the brainchild of the Rotary of Duluth Club 25 and the Proctor High School DECA club. The goal is to have at least 9,000 people make snow angels simultaneously, shattering the mark of 8,962 set on the North Dakota state Capitol grounds on Feb. 17, 2007.
"If anybody wants to challenge (the record), bring 'em on," North Dakota state Sen. Dick Dever was quoted as saying a short time later.
Who could resist a challenge like that?
"We're Minnesota. We believe we're the Northland. Let's take it from them," said TJ Lind, 17, a senior who is part of the Proctor DECA leadership team.
Proctor DECA and the Rotary Club have collaborated on projects for a couple of years, said Crystal Taylor, a Rotary Club member who is publicity chairwoman of Angels for a Cause.
DECA, which is a marketing club, was looking for a project in which they could use their marketing skills, and they wanted to have a global impact, Taylor said. The Rotary Club already was working with Global Team for Local Initiatives, a nonprofit that seeks to help indigenous people without displacing their traditional culture. The Duluth club specifically is involved in efforts to provide clean drinking water for the Hamar people of Ethiopia.
The two groups staged a fundraising concert last year. And then they brainstormed about trying something bigger.
"We explored the idea of having a marathon on frozen Lake Superior, which was thrown out because it was dangerous," said Lind, who is running for president of the almost-200,000-member international DECA organization and will delay starting college by a year if he's elected.
The snow angel idea came from someone who recalled seeing a news article about Bismarck's snow angels, Lind said. The original idea was to stage the event last winter, but there wasn't enough snow. Both Lind and Taylor said they were delighted by the fluffy snow that fell this week, adding a fresh layer from which to sculpt the angels.
Taylor said she's confident about breaking the record. Enthusiastic help has come from UMD, the College of St. Scholastica and Lake Superior College, each of which has vowed to get 33 percent of its faculty, staff and students to come and make angels. Local TV personalities and officials will be on hand, with Mayor Don Ness and his family counting down the seconds to 11 a.m. A Rotary Club from Edina, Minn., is coming to add volunteer strength, and a performance group from the Twin Cities also will be on hand, Taylor said.
This evening, Enger Tower will be lit in blue in homage to the event.
Even Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown offered unintentional support when he exuberantly made a snow angel in the confetti on the football field after Sunday's Super Bowl win in New Orleans, Taylor said. There's a link to the video on the Make Your Mark: Angels for a Cause Facebook page.
To satisfy Guinness criteria, each participant should come through the gates at Malosky Stadium to receive a wristband, Taylor said. The number of wristbands handed out will be one way of verifying the count, and the color will determine whether the prospective angel remains at Malosky or is dispatched to one of the outlying fields. A second count will be taken by clicker counters at the gate. A third will come via photos taken from a helicopter.
Gates will open at 9:30 a.m., but Taylor encourages people to show up sooner. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available for sale -- with proceeds going to the project -- and the fieldhouse will be open for people wanting to stay warm ahead of the event. The Duluth Children's Museum will provide activities there.
With people donating money to participate, Angels for a Cause is expected to raise $28,000 for the clean water project, Taylor said. A second goal is to do something big enough to bring attention to Duluth.
"We really want to put Duluth on the map," Taylor said.