s h a d e s S e a o f ‘Record’ crowd at 2nd Friday

By on June 19, 2013

By:

GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent

, Staff Writer



Photo by Preston Whitcraftâ?©Downtown Lititz was literally a sea of shades last Friday.

They came in droves to continue last month’s rainout, with one goal in mind – put Corey Hart back on the charts!

He’s the cool Canadian who scored a top-10 hit in 1984 with "Sunglasses at Night," and Lititz adopted his rallying cry earlier this year when it scored the title of "Coolest Small Town in America." A festive community celebration was held during 2nd Friday in May, but the planned attempt to break the world record for most people wearing sunglasses at night was postponed due to a torrential downpour.

Part II, and another attempt at the record, was held during last week’s 2nd Friday.

Over 2,000 pairs of sunglasses were handed out and many more people wore their own.

"We broke the record," said event organizer Kelly Withum. "I don’t know how much of our evidence Guinness will accept, and if they do it will be a couple of months before we know."

The previous record was 1,642.

Regardless of whether or not the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges Lititz’s coolness, the level of community pride demonstrated in a jam-packed East Main Street will be etched in the collective memory for years to come.

At 8:45 p.m. the crowd all sang along to Hart’s hit while cameramen took pictures for proof. Shortly after that, a two-minute theatrical pyrotechnic display punctuated the unforgettable evening.

The entire night was filled with fun and festivities which drew people of all ages. The sense of community was almost palpable. Businesses and eateries throughout town likewise were inundated with party-goers there to enjoy the moderate temperatures, sunny skies and friendly crowd.

Loraine Rutt has lived in Lititz for 43 years. She had a prime location on her East Main Street stoop.

"I really enjoy all this stuff," she said. "It may be a bit noisy but there is always something going on in Lititz. This really is the coolest town. The people are really great."

In the first block of East Main, "Dancing in the Street" was sponsored by the Downtown Lititz Merchants, with a DJ playing all types of classic dance music from the 1950s to the present. People of all ages showcased their best moves, in what one teenager called a makeshift "mosh pit." DJ Chuck Colson provided the soundtrack.

On South Broad Street, the band Honey and the Bees were playing ’50s and ’60s music at Dosie Dough and Ken’s Music Center. There was also live music on the patio at the General Sutter Inn.

One couple in particular turned heads wherever they went. Meticulously dressed in 1940s garb, Kristi Beitler and James Koury were not an official part of the evening but said they just like dressing in clothing from that era. More than a few people stopped them to chat about their outfits.

"This is our first time to a 2nd Friday event," said Beitler, who is from Richland. Koury is from Phoenixville.

"What a fun way to get everyone together," added Koury.

From Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" to "Gangnam Style," the DJ kept people in the mood to party, and many of the local restaurants had vendor tables for hungry dancers. Perfume House by Lorraine was serving "cool pops" and Curiosity Shoppe passed out refreshments. The Savory Gourmet featured a "Taste of Spain" in the form of wine and cheese, and Spanish coffees were available from Pop’s Coffee Shop. Meanwhile, Zest! was demonstrating tomato and barbecue sauces with the help of Cortazzo Foods.

At the Lititz Welcome Center in Lititz Springs Park, director Karen Harnley noted the heavy traffic of visitors to the area.

"We generally log about 22,000 visitors per year," she said. "We should easily top 2,000 tonight for the sunglasses event. This is such a great community … so picturesque and quaint. It is a unique community to come together and play together. Our leaders do a fantastic job and there are a lot of volunteers. We have a lot of people here who want to serve."

Brenda and Tim Weit agreed.

"Lititz really does a great job," said Brenda. "This is definitely a huge milestone."

It seemed like everyone participated in some way, shape or form. The Lititz Police Department and Lititz Fire Company No. 1 were sponsoring kids’ activities. There was a bouncy castle, climbing wall and a go-cart track set up near the fire hall. Drummer Bobby D. was also on hand.

Kathy Blankenbiller, author of "Lititz" and Cory Van Brookhoven, author of "Warwick Township, Lancaster County," were signing copies of their books at the Lititz Historical Foundation.

North Sturgis Lane saw the return of Optical Mirage, a 3-D painting on the street, sponsored and created by The New Covenant Software Company. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Moravian Manor sponsored a movie night in Lititz Spring Park at 9 p.m., showing "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."

The list of activities seemed to be as expansive as the crowd that gathered to revisit Corey Hart’s moment in the sun, a moment worthy of 2,000-plus pairs shades.

For the record, it certainly was a night to remember.

More SHADES, page A18