ULTRAparty goes for a balloon hat record

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If the organizers of Mt. Lebanon’s annual ULTRAparty have their way, this statement from Guinness World Records soon will be obsolete:

“The world record for the most people wearing balloon hats was 4,017 at the Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremony in Cedar City, Utah, on June 14, 2007.”

On Saturday night, partygoers will wear balloons on their heads in hopes of setting a new standard.

“Can you imagine looking out over Washington Road and seeing 4,000 balloon hats?” said Dorene Ciletti, a board member of the nonprofit community development agency Mt. Lebanon Partnership, which has organized the ULTRAparty as a fundraising event for the past several summers.

Assisting the potential record breakers will be members of the Syria Shriners, dressed as clowns to add a festive touch. They’ll be busy: Each hat must contain at least three balloons, according to Ms. Ciletti.

“We had talked about trying to break a record,” she said. “That’s a great thing for awareness.”

The idea for balloon hats came from Eric Milliron, the municipality’s economic development officer, whose office works closely with Mt. Lebanon Partnership to promote the viability of local business districts.

“We have balloon artists who come for First Friday events,” Ms. Ciletti said about the monthly gatherings in Mt. Lebanon’s Uptown Business District, “and one of the most requested items is balloon hats.”

Breaking the hat record will require a record turnout at the ULTRAparty.

“It’s a big hurdle for us because we typically get between 2,000 and 3,000 people,” explained Ms. Ciletti, who has worked on organizing the event annually since its inception.

If the requisite 4,018 people put on the hats, each of the record setters would be provided with a link to download a personal certificate commemorating the occasion.

“It’s something that anyone of any age or ability can participate in,” said Ms. Ciletti.

The all-inclusiveness ties in with the fundraising efforts of the ULTRAparty, to benefit the Accessible Lebo initiative for people with special needs. Last year’s event generated money toward the purchase of new playground equipment at the municipality’s Main Park.

ULTRAparty activities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with the Howard Hanna ULTRAkids FamilyFest, in Clearview Common area off Washington Road. Hands-on projects and activities will be provided, and parents can have identification cards made for their children at the Met Life Child ID station, staffed by the Mt. Lebanon Police.

From 8 to midnight, Washington Road will be closed to traffic, and partygoers can dance in the street to the music of Pittsburgh band Radio Tokyo.

“The event for the most part is geared toward the over-21 crowd,” said Ms. Ciletti. “They can stand out in the middle of Washington Road and drink beer, which is something you don’t get to do every day.”

Nor do they have the chance every day to be part of a Guinness World Record.

For more information, visit www.ultrapartylebo.com.

Harry Funk, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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