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Lee County enters Guinness Book of World Records

By Staff | Jun 21, 2018

One thousand ninety-three is now the world record to beat.

Lee County and Fort Myers Beach are officially Guinness Book of World Records holders for the largest human image of a seashell Wednesday morning.

Lynn Garcia of Cape Coral and her granddaughter, Harmony Oden of Chicago, were waiting outside The Outrigger Resort at 5:30 a.m., waiting to check into the event.

“How exciting. How can you not be a part of this?” Garcia said as she and Oden stood in their place around the shell outline, waiting for the official photo.

The Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau organized the record attempt for June 21, which is also the first official day of summer and National Seashell Day.

The idea sparked from the visitor bureau’s marketing staff brainstorming on how to put an emphasis on National Seashell Day.

“What can we do to blow out National Seashell Day?” said Tamara Pigott, the executive director. “We’ve got to own (it).”

The bureau team has been planning the record attempt for months as a way to highlight the area – Sanibel Island is named the seashell capital of the world.

“It’s a way to have fun with our community,” Pigott said.

The Outrigger hosted the event; environmental educators from CROW, Turtle Time and the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum also set up booths to tell people about the various creatures that live on the beach, shell or no shell.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Mayor Tracey Gore and Vice Mayor Joanne Shamp spoke to the crowd before the groups were sent off to be organized in the shell shape.

“It’s a great community event for the town and Lee County,” Gore said. “It also showcases all the businesses and shops on the south end.”

Shamp got the shapeshifting started with a “shell we get this done?”

It took about 45 minutes to get everyone organized into different zones and line up to make the shell. The Bureau’s official drone flew overhead, capturing the crowd, and volunteers came around with spray misters to keep everyone as cool as possible on the hot summer morning.

Christina Conlon, an official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, attended the event to get the official count and shell-shape measurements.

“This is the most beautiful day at the office I’ve ever had,” she said.

She confirmed that the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau had met all the qualifications to win the record, and delivered the official certificate for record-holding to Pigott and the Bureau.

Conlon said she attends about one record attempt a week. She’s been an adjudicator for four years after leaving her career in the law field. It’s a big effort to organize a record attempt, and Conlon said Fort Myers Beach’s “went so smoothly.”

“This was a good job, picking this record,” she said. “It was well-executed.”

The Fort Myers Beach attempt broke the previous record set by Shell Oil Co. in 2017 with 855 participants, making Lee County match Guinness’s slogan: “Officially Amazing.”