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Tiny Hardwick Breaks a Dishwashing World Record

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Proud washers hold up clean dishes - COURTESY: JOSEPH GRESSER/BARTON CHRONICLE
  • Courtesy: Joseph Gresser/Barton Chronicle
  • Proud washers hold up clean dishes

Who needs a dishwasher when you've got friends like these?

A soapy scrum of 346 people gathered in Hardwick last Saturday to break the Guinness World Records' mark for the most people simultaneously washing dishes by hand.

The number is unofficial, cautioned organizer Bethany Dunbar, but it surpasses the previous record of 300 set last year in the Philippines.

"It was such a crazy day, but we did it!" exclaimed Dunbar, the community projects coordinator for the Center for an Agricultural Economy.

So who dreamed up breaking such a bizarre record? According to Dunbar, it was Tom Gilbert, one of the nonprofit's board members and the owner of Black Dirt Farm. The center aims to host zero-waste events — meaning nothing ends up in the landfill — so Dunbar solicited the community for reusable plates and got 400 dishes, from "dollar-store-type picnic plastic plates to Wedgwood and antique china."

The plates got nice and dirty during lunch at Hardwick's annual SpringFest last Saturday. Then Dunbar and volunteers corralled as many people as possible — even random passersby — to the event area in Atkins Park for washing. Middlebury-based Vermont Soap threw in some cleaning supplies and a free bar of soap to every scrubber.

Dunbar said it'll take 12 to 15 weeks for Guinness to look at videos, pictures and other documents needed to certify that Hardwick, population 3,000-something, is indeed top of the heap.

The best part? No dishes broke, and they'll serve as a "plate library" that others can borrow for zero-waste events. They're already booked for one on June 10, Dunbar said.

Nothing like a little squeaky-clean fun.


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