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Light Up State College Shatters Guinness World Record

by on February 04, 2017 7:53 PM

Saturday night in downtown State College was one for the record books.

The 100 block of South Allen Street was filled with ice luminaries, cup-shaped structures made entirely out of ice that hold a light inside. There were 5,226 of them to be exact, setting a new Guinness World Record for most lighted ice luminaries in a single location.

Vuollerim, Sweden, had held the record with 2,561.

Light Up State College was co-organized by The Make Space141 S. Fraser St., and Centre Foundation. It grew out of work at The Make Space, where co-founder John Stitzinger said they have been trying to get the word out for the local community to know where they are and what they do.

"That was our big thing. We had no way to publicize it before this," Stitzinger said after the record was announced on Saturday. "Even our Maker Week events, we’d get a few people in but we really need the community to know where it is and know what making is all about. Maker spaces are kind of unknown to people. We’re ecstatic to get that word out that everyone is a maker."

Photo: Geoff Rushton/

The Make Space is a nonprofit, community resource run by volunteers for anyone who likes to create, share knowledge and work with art and technology. It has resources like 3-D printers, laser cutters, a well-equipped workshop with tools and public computers, to name a few. And it hosts free classes and serves as a meeting space.

Stitzinger and others heard last year about the Knight Cities Challenge, which awards competitive funds to innovators for ideas to make communities more vibrant places to live and work. They submitted a last-minute application, and won a $51,450 award to make Light Up State College happen.

For the past month, residents have been encouraged to make their own ice luminaries using online instructions or kits that were available at The Make Space and at other locations around town.

The local community responded to help smash the world record. Hundreds turned out on Saturday to see the luminaries, enjoy live music and witness the announcement of the record.

"I think it’s a lot of fun," said Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins. "I remember as a kid reading the Guinness Book of World Records and thinking ‘Wow, that’s really neat that someone tried super hard and did something maybe a little bit obscure.' Now here we are doing it in State College."

Photo: Geoff Rushton/

Higgins was one of the official witnesses, along with fellow commissioner Steve Dershem. Commissioner Michael Pipe also was on hand, as well as State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham.

Higgins said he's happy to see public events that bring the community together.

"It improves quality of life in the region," he said. "There are hundreds of people down here right now and I’m sure they’re buying snacks and eating at restaurants and going to do something afterwards. It’s people of all ages too. I’m seeing people in their 80s and I’m seeing five year olds. It’s nice, fun, family-oriented entertainment. And it’s free. You can’t beat free."

Community was the major theme of the event. Though Stitzinger was glad to get the word out about The Make Space, he also noted that it was the work of Centre Region residents coming together for a common goal that made the record happen.

"We really appreciate the community coming together to make this possible," he said. "Everybody stepped up… and we appreciate everyone’s effort to make this happen. Maker spaces are all about community collaboration and cooperation, and that’s what we wanted to show."

"We are so thrilled to have the community engaged like this," added Molly Kunkel, executive director of Centre Foundation, which was the event's fiscal sponsor.

Photo: Geoff Rushton/

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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