Wapakoneta hopes to break record with giant leap

WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta’s First On The Moon Committee is inviting area residents to not only “take a leap” but help them break a record on Leap Day.

The Guinness record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as astronauts” was originally set on Nov. 10, 2017, in Bristol, UK, when 257 people gathered dressed as astronauts to raise awareness of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and raise money for The Prince’s Trust.

“We certainly can gather more people than that to help us leap into the record book,” said Rachel Barber, a member of the organizing committee. “We know Wapakoneta is proud of its connection to space and Neil Armstrong.”

Local historians know Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who called Wapakoneta home, took his small step and giant leap at 10:56 p.m. on July 20, 1969. The record-breaking attempt, which will include a leap for posterity, is set to take place at 10:56 a.m. in the parkway in downtown Wapakoneta on Leap Day.

Those who choose to participate and be counted are being asked to dress like as astronaut. Participants will wear/purchase an all-white jumpsuit, and wear a helmet. The helmets must be decorated to look like an astronaut helmet. The committee will also have available NASA stickers and First On The Moon decals to help dress up the all-white “space suit.” Those participating will also be asked to cover their footwear with aluminum foil to mimic “space boots.”

Participants must register at the Wapa Theatre between 9:30 and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29. There will be extra costume supplies available like tinfoil, NASA stickers and First On The Moon stickers. The potential record breakers will head to the parkway for a photo and a leap at 10:30 a.m.

Area businesses are planning specials for those customers who visit to eat and or shop while wearing their astronaut gear; those specials will be announced closer to Feb. 29.