Mullingar is to face one of the biggest challenges in its near millennium and a half of history in a fortnight’s time when it takes on the might of Spiderman and New York city in an attempt to break four world records in one day.
On Sunday November 18, the people of Mullingar are hoping to present the world’s largest Chrismas card, with the greatest number of signatures, and it is in the latter of these efforts that the town will tangle with Peter Parker.
“The card will be close on the height of the Arts Centre building where they’re making it, around 36 feet [11 metres], and will comprise scenes from around the town,” said committee spokesperson, Marty Morrissey.
However, the greatest number of signatures on a card currently stands at 2,707, and was set only two weeks ago in New York city by Marvel comics and Mayor Bloomberg in New York to promote the latest Spiderman comic.
“Marvel hold the record, and we’re asking the young people of Mullingar to take on Spiderman. If we take on the might of Marvel comics we’ll have the record. We’re taking on Spiderman,” chuckled Marty.
As well as attempting this task, Mullingar will attempt a record felling of another type when John Lynch of Mick Lynch and Sons tree surgeons will attempt to cut down the most Christmas trees in less than two minutes from a specially assembled frame outside the Arts Centre.
“The record stands at 27, set by a Canadian woman in 1998. We’re going to do 30,” said Marty, who explained all four attempts will take place between 3pm and 6pm on a specially closed off lower Mount Street.
The final record attempt will be a easonal example of entente atlantique between the people of Mullingar and Brockton, Massachusetts who, in recent years, have exchanged the title of most Santa hats in one place, but this year hope to claim the record for the greatest number of Santa hats worn simultaneously on two continents.
As the home of the world’s first department store Santa, Brockton first set the Santa hat record in 2008, and reclaimed it from Mullingar in 2010.
However, this year the two towns have agreed to pool their resources simultaneously at 6pm in Mullingar and 1pm in Brockton to set a brand new record.
“It’ll be a live, transatlantic world record. By that time I hope to be up in the pub having set four world records,” said Mr Mulligan.
The first two record attempts will raise funds for the youth café, with Spiderman-defeating signatures for the card costing €1 a go.
John Lynch’s tree-felling attempt is in support of the North Westmeath Hospice, with the money being raised by a company’s individual sponsorship of a tree, or by sponsoring the attempt itself.
The Santa hat record is for the Lions Club Christmas Food Appeal, and as before, the hats will be on sale around Mullingar in the run-up to the big day, and from the Lions Club on the day, for €2 each.
“The aim is that nobody feels hungry, homeless, or hopeless in Mullingar over Christmas,” said Marty.
The November 18, four-record attempt is supported by Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, the Town Council, and Westmeath County Council.
All of the record attempts will take place as part of a promotion to kickstart the Christmas shopping season and will include live music and street entertainment all afternoon.
The full line-up of live acts of will be revealed in the coming weeks.