Huge Snowball Fight

Seattle, Washington, sets Guinness World Record for largest snowball fight

Jan 16, 2013 | By: TIME’s Rebecca Nelson with additional AP reporting
JORDAN STEAD—REUTERS

Seattle, Washington, may be nicknamed “Rain City”, but it’s snow that’s making it famous. On January 12, Seattle residents set the Guinness World Record for the largest snowball fight. More than 5,800 people showed up to toss snowballs at one another at the Seattle Center, a park, arts and entertainment campus that includes the city’s famous Space Needle.

A smiling attendee prepares to hurl a powdery snowball in the air.
JORDAN STEAD—REUTERS
A smiling attendee prepares to hurl a powdery snowball in the air.

It didn’t snow in Seattle on that day, but there was snow in a small corner of the city — enough to make a lot of kids’ dreams come true. Trucks hauled 34 loads of snow from Snoqualmie Pass, an hour away in Washington’s Cascade mountain range, to the Seattle Center. It took 162,000 pounds of the white stuff to build the winter wonderland.

The goal? To break the Guinness World Record for biggest snowball fight.  The event, dubbed “Snow Day,” was also a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County. Seattle businessman Neil Bergquist took three months to organize the playful battle. He wanted to raise money for kids “by remembering what it was like to feel like a kid.”

Blasting Records
Although Seattle residents aren’t used to snow, they succeeded in getting enough people to come out and play.  About 6,000 tickets were sold online, and participants were given bar-coded wristbands when they arrived. The wristbands were scanned as event-goers entered and left the location, so Guinness had a head count at all times. There were 130 judges for the official minute-and-a-half snowball fight. Anyone not throwing snowballs was not counted in the total, Bergquist said Monday.

Participant Nikki Neuchterlein protects her stash of snowballs during battle.
JORDAN STEAD—REUTERS
Participant Nikki Neuchterlein protects her stash of snowballs during battle.

To raise money for the Boys and Girls Club, companies paid for space to build their own snow forts. Some highlights included a snow slide and even a few snow toilets. A Guinness official confirmed the count of 5,834 people. Seattle beat the previous world record of about 5,400 at a 2010 snowball fight in South Korea.

"We had a lot of fun, set a Guinness record, raised some money for kids, and everyone had a chance to act like a kid for a day," Bergquist said.