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Displaying more than 1,000 piñatas, VCU and community groups break Guinness World Record

The da Vinci Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Hispanic Foundation will fill the piñatas with donated school supplies for Richmond-area schools.

More than 1,000 piñatas were hung along Richmond’s Canal Walk on Saturday at the annual ¿Qué Pasa...
More than 1,000 piñatas were hung along Richmond’s Canal Walk on Saturday at the annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival. (Photos by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs)

More than 1,000 piñatas were hung along Richmond’s Canal Walk on Saturday at the annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival, breaking the Guinness World Record for “Largest Display of Piñatas.”

The new record is the result of five months of work by the da Vinci Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Hispanic Foundation to create and collect as many piñatas as possible to surpass the previous record of 504 piñatas displayed, set in 2008 at an event in Mexico.

“This is building on an effort that the Virginia Hispanic Chamber already had. They have grade schools and high schools make piñatas for the festival, so we just went big. We got all the piñatas,” said Allison Schumacher, director of academic alchemy at the da Vinci Center, a collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences to advance innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The pace started to really pick up at the end,” she said. “People were delivering like 100 piñatas at a time. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, there are so many. How are we ever going to hang so many?’”

Saturday morning, volunteers spent hours before the festival opened hanging piñatas along the Canal Walk’s railings, lining both sides of the canal with colorful piñatas of every shape and size.

Saturday's collection surpass the previous record of 504 piñatas displayed, set in 2008 at an event in Mexico.
Click to view slideshow. Saturday's collection surpass the previous record of 504 piñatas displayed, set in 2008 at an event in Mexico.

Once they were done, two judges counted each piñata while a videographer filmed their work in one long take. The video will be sent to Guinness World Records for certification.

Now that they have broken the record, the da Vinci Center, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Hispanic Foundation will enter phase two of the project. They will fill the piñatas with donated school supplies, and then contribute them to Richmond-area schools.

“We're going to consult teachers from our schools and see what they need, and then ask the community for donations,” Schumacher said.

Donated school supplies may be dropped off at the da Vinci Center, 807 S. Cathedral Place, on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or the Virginia Hispanic Chamber, 10700 Midlothian Turnpike, Suite 200, Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.