State College

State College sets unofficial world record in ice luminaries

Light Up State College breaks record

People attend Light Up State College Saturday, Feb 4, 2017 on South Allen Street.
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People attend Light Up State College Saturday, Feb 4, 2017 on South Allen Street.

State College now has at least one thing in common with Vuollerim, Sweden.

A lot of ice luminaries.

On Saturday night, the world record for number of the ice lanterns displayed in a community at one time was taken from the small European town.

The luminaries were displayed in a pattern Saturday evening on South Allen Street. Now, the numbers will have to be submitted to and accepted by Guinness World Records to be made official.

According to John Stitzinger, a founder of The Make Space in downtown State College, 5,622 ice luminaries were present at the Light Up State College event.

“We’re very impressed with their record, and we of course wanted to break a world record so we’re going for one more than that, but think 3,000 would be a really nice number,” he said Saturday afternoon as participants began dropping off their luminaries.

The record held by Vuollerim was 2,561.

Organizers offered members of the Centre County community the opportunity to make ice luminaries by freezing water in a bucket around a pill container, leaving a hollow space just the right size to fit a light.

Light Up State College event spokesman Brad Groznik said more than 1,000 ice luminary kits were distributed to the public for free.

“There were so many distributed and so much response from the community to get their hands on one, that it sold out by Thursday,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon, an ice truck dropped off more than 2,000 ice lanterns for volunteers to sort. Other community members also individually dropped off their kits before the 6 p.m. Light Up kickoff.

Alicia Allen said employees from her family’s business, PBCI-Allen Mechanical and Electrical, helped make at least 20.

Allen, along with her family, volunteered to help separate the ice from the buckets.

The strategy, she said, was to tap the bucket on the ground, allowing the ice to slide out.

“It’s just wanting to be involved in the community and come out and do what we can,” she said. “We had a lot of people (at work) getting kits, but when they ran out, they were asking about how to do them on their own. ... And now we just wanted to help more.”

The event that played host to the ice luminaries was an idea sparked by Stitzinger and others from The Make Space.

It was made possible, Stitzinger said, through the Centre Foundation, which acted as a facilitator for The Make Space to receive a $50,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.

“When we looked at the grant, it matched perfectly with what The Make Space does — community involvement, retaining individuals in State College — so we applied for the grant,” Stitzinger said. “We were lucky to be a finalist and once we got the budget, were finally able to make this happen.”

Groznik said guests were encouraged to take the ice luminaries home after the Light Up event.

He added that Light Up State College representatives will present Guinness World Records with their figures to become eligible to make the record official.

The process, Groznik said, should take about two weeks.

The Make Space is a community workshop in State College that opened about five years ago. Its goal, Stitzinger said, is to create a “community of makers.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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