DANVILLE — If the Festival of Trees isn’t enough of an undertaking for volunteers and the Presence United Samaritans Medical Center’s Foundation, add finding more than 762 “elves” to take part in the annual Polar Express event.
“We’re pretty ambitious,” said Angie Lazzell, event coordinator for the festival that starts Saturday.
Each year, as part of the Polar Express special event on Saturday and Sunday of the festival, volunteer “elves” wave and smile from the street, greeting the “trains” or buses filled with children arriving at the David S. Palmer Arena downtown.
So director/producer of the Polar Express event this year, Roxy Reed, thought it was the perfect set up for a world record attempt.
Reed, who is known for her work with the CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — Royal Ball, and the other organizers are attempting to set the world record for the greatest number of elves gathered in one location — other than the North Pole, of course.
The big event is set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday, during the second running of the Polar Express for the weekend.
“The idea is inspired by my mother, Ruth Ann Earl, who has spent the last three weeks sewing four giant red satin sheets into what could be the largest Santa sack ever recorded,” Reed said through a press release.
“This sack will be descended from the ceiling during the stage show of the Polar Express, reminiscent of the North Pole scene in the movie. In looking up world records for Santa sacks, we came across an elf-gathering record and thought: ‘We got this,’” Reed said.
Lazzell said this year’s Polar Express event also has more actors — a cast of 67.
Taking on such a large-scale elf gathering requires a lot of support from local officials, so festival organizers approached Mayor Scott Eisenhauer to partner with the city of Danville in the effort.