Make History for Gilda’s LaughFest!

 West Michigan invited to set

New World Record Opening Night


We’re fortunate enough to live in the nation’s first ever community-wide festival of laughter with Gilda’s LaughFest.  As in years past, you – the community – are invited to help kick off this year’s festival by attempting to set another Guinness World Record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. All whacky world-record participants will receive official LaughFest sunglasses supplied by Baudville. The hysterical record-setting event will also include giveaways and a photo booth for individual fun. The Guinness World Record attempt will be followed by opening night events at downtown restaurants and a free comedy preview show at the Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce Ave.) at 10 p.m. The show includes a sneak peak of local, regional, and national comedians who will be featured during the 10-day festival. Meanwhile, back to the community contest…


The current Guinness World Record for largest number of people wearing sunglasses in the dark was achieved in July 2012 by 1,642 participants at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill. C’mon West Michigan – WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!


Laughfest Kickoff at Rosa Parks Circle, downtown GR

5:30/6 p.m. – Pre-kickoff activities, line-up 

7  p.m. – World record practice and preliminary instructions 

7:15 p.m. – Official attempt to break the existing record


“This is going to be seriously fun,” says Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s LaughFest and Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “This free event will help set the stage for ten days of laughter for the health of it. And what better way to shun the winter blues than with the optimistic donning of bright yellow sunglasses!”


During last year’s kick off, 1,532 individuals put on false mustaches to set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people wearing fake mustaches at a single venue. In 2012, 607 people wore chicken beaks and performed the chicken dance to set the record for the greatest number of people wearing animal noses. In 2011, 925 rubber chickens were tossed in downtown Grand Rapids, shattering the previous record of 265 set near Boston, Mass.


For the preview show, a suggested $5 donation to Gilda’s Club will be collected at the door. Fast passes are available for these shows at LaughFest Central, which will guarantee the holder a seat at the show as long as they are seated 15 minutes prior to start time. Tickets are also available for the Clean Comedy Showcase at The BOB at 8pm that night – tickets are $17.50 and $32.50 (includes dinner.)


LaughFest 2014 will be held in Grand Rapids, Lowell, and Holland from March 6 through March 16. LaughFest headliners include: Jay Leno, Jim Gaffigan, Lily Tomlin, Sinbad, Mike Birbiglia, and Chris Tucker. Other acts announced include: Maria Bamford, Miranda Sings, Todd Barry, Rory Scovel, and Nick Thune, The Tenderloins, Judah Friedlander, Jen Kirkman, Blackout Diaries, and the stars of MTV’s Guy Code. New and returning activities include FUNderwear 5K, Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, and People and Pets. Showcases and competitions include: Best of the Midwest, National Stand-up Comedy Showcase, and Clean Comedy Showcase.


Gilda’s LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 55,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief, and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Visit, or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda’s LaughFest.


Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause. The comprehensive program, delivered by licensed healthcare professionals includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is one of the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliates in North America. The organization runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and in five community centers. For more information, visit