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By Tom Hurley
More than 11,000 students and others gathered at Johnson Center Fields Friday night to break the world record for biggest water-balloon fight.
Students and local residents joined together to take part in the event, organized for the fifth year running by UK’s Christian Student Fellowship.
Months of preparation for the fifth successful attempt at the world record in as many years paid off for CSF.
As of 12:18 a.m. Saturday, the record stands at 236,484 water balloons thrown by 11,622 people, said Grace Thompson, CSF staff member.
“I almost can’t even explain in words how amazing it is to work so hard for a whole summer and then watch it happen before your eyes,” Stacey Johnson, a full-time associate staff member at CSF, said.
“We started around early June, late May, just getting everything together for it. We were filling up (balloons) ‘til the last hour.”
Long lines and tailbacks in parking lots ensured the event started a little later than planned, with the first balloons thrown 14 minutes after midnight. Four minutes later and it was all over.
“It has been the best water balloon fight i’ve ever been a part of,” said Ricardo Pierre-
Louis, an undergraduate studies freshman.
“It was crazy,” he said.
Participants of the water-balloon fight began arriving early, eager to get inside and enjoy the party atmosphere.
A live DJ kept the crowd entertained as long lines of people slowly filtered in with students still in the party mood fresh from the RSA Block Party on South Campus.
Many danced to the live music while waiting for the water balloon fight to get under way, with some playing Frisbee and soccer and others searched for friends amongst the masses.
The parking lot of Commonwealth Stadium was crammed and long lines were seen at the entrance gates to Johnson Center Fields as people waited to get into the event.
After a delay of about 30 minutes from the planned 11:55 p.m. start time to allow people through the gates, things got started.
As the DJ began counting down from 10, students rushed through security tape toward the water balloons neatly laid out on the grass in front of them. Four minutes later and a new world record had officially been set.
Within seconds of the start, balloons began flying through the night sky like splatters of
paint on an artist’s canvas, with water exploding in the air on impact as though it had
popped from a champagne bottle.
Sivarama Vija, an electrical engineering graduate student, was lost for words as he
watched the vibrant fight unfold before him.
“It looks fab, amazing … colorful!” he said, as thousands in front of him launched water
balloons at one another — including UK mascots Scratch and Wildcat, who
sported a poncho and snorkel for the occasion.
Dozens of volunteer security staff were on hand to keep participants safe during the event,
including secondary education junior Stephen Ruh.
“I got hit in the face but it wasn’t as bad as you think — and I got to throw a few balloons
too,” he said.
Students are hoping the tradition of attempting to break the world record each year
“This was awesome,” ReDell Atkinson, a biology freshman, said.
“It was my first year, and I’m ready to do it three more times.”