When Columbia comes together to break a Guinness World Record, it doesn’t go halfway. Nearly 1,000 people gathered Sunday afternoon at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Sunday, and 823 tied on bow ties at the same time to earn a place in the Guinness Book and to raise money for children in need at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
The 823, certified officially by a Guinness representative, shattered the previous record of 417, set in England in 2012.
The event, called Tie Us Together, was organized by the University of South Carolina Dance Marathon, Brittons of Columbia, the city of Columbia and the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.
Commemorative bow ties and other memorabilia were sold at Brittons in advance and at the convention center Sunday, and all proceeds from the event will go to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. The total amount raised will be announced March 2 at the end of the USC Dance Marathon.
USC student and Dance Marathon Coordinator Taylor Foster said she was thrilled with the turnout for Sunday’s event.
“It shows the strength of the community here in Columbia,” she said, “That so many people would come together to do this for the kids.”
“For the Kids” is the motto of Dance Marathon, which is a longtime supporter of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. The organization has raised more than $1.6 million over the past 15 years. Some of the kids helped by the hospital were on hand Sunday.
Also attending Sunday’s event were Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner and Voice of the Gamecocks Todd Ellis. Tanner served as a model on stage as Lucky Levinson of Brittons demonstrated the proper way to tie a bow tie.
“We don’t fail at anything in Columbia, do we? We’re certainly not going to fail when it comes to these kids,” Ellis said.
The crowd gathered Sunday and was entertained by local band Seventy Six and Sunny, and Dance Marathon members circulated the crowd showing people how to tie their bow ties.
Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator Michael Emrick explained the rules to the crowd: Five minutes would be allowed for tying, and each person in the room could tie only one tie.
Guinness stewards circulated as the record attempt happened, and after Emrick tallied the results, loud cheers greeted the announcement that the record belonged to Columbia. Emrick presented a framed commemorative certificate confirming the record to the Tie us Together organizers.