RANGELEY — Snowmobilers will try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest snowmobile parade Saturday as part of a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northern New England.
The current record was set by a group of 820 snowmobilers with a 29-mile parade around Roseau, Minn., in 2004, during the community’s annual Frostbite Days.
Rangeley event organizer James Milligan said the parade will run a 32-mile course, starting at 1 p.m. in Oquossoc. The route will go through Rangeley, across Rangeley Lake and back to Oquossoc, where a band will later perform.
He said the parade route runs across the lake, though not where three snowmobilers, who have been missing since Dec. 31, are believed to have fallen through the ice.
“This is an event to save lives, and we are very sensitive to the lives lost,” Milligan said.
There has been no update on the search. Officials previously said it would resume with a remote-controlled vehicle sometime this month if the ice thickness is safe.
The foundation chose a 5-year-old girl from Lewiston who has cystic fibrosis to lead the parade. Milligan gave her first name only, Ayisha, and did not release her last name, at her parent’s request.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, chronic illness that causes life-threatening damage to the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
Snowmobile riders will pay $10 for Rangeley World Record Snowmobile Ride gear and to participate. Nonparticipants also may buy the gear, which is being sold at Rangeley businesses and the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
Milligan said he does not have an exact total of funds raised, but he said the group has raised enough to cover event expenses, and he expects to raise several thousand dollars for the foundation.
An independent party will take the official tally of the number of participants at the start of the parade, Milligan said. Event organizers also have arranged to have a helicopter fly over the crowd and take a group photo.
Milligan said event organizers will not know how many people are in the parade until the day of the event.
Milligan, manager of Errol Log Structures in Rangeley, said a friend who works at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation suggested the world record attempt as a way to raise money for the foundation.
He said he and other business owners in the community met six weeks ago to talk about possible records to break. They decided to attempt the parade record and plans have come together quickly since.
“We’ve really hustled along,” he said.
Out-of-state snowmobilers may join in, Milligan said. State officials have granted organizers’ request to allow snowmobiles registered out of state to be driven that day in Maine without being registered here.
Milligan said the event organizers plan to continue trying to break other records to raise money for various charities.
Kaitlin Schroeder– 861-9252