MARQUETTE, Mich. – While the official numbers are still being tallied, Finn Grand Fest 2005 organizers estimate that about 600 people participated in the “world’s largest sauna” event this afternoon, helping to shatter the Finnish world record of 220.
Once the final number of participants is confirmed, festival organizers plan to submit it to the Guinness Book of World Records.
When Marquette played host to the 1996 Finn Fest, 659 people participated in the sauna event, but Guinness officials did not recognize the accomplishment as a world record because the event took place in a tent, not a true sauna. This time, organizers built a 4,000 square-foot sauna outside the Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University. Temperatures for the sauna reached up to 160 degrees.
Miss Michigan USA Crystal Hayes of Rock celebrated her Finnish heritage as one of the record-setting participants and co-host of the sauna.
Finn Grand Fest 2005, a combined American and Canadian festival, concludes Sunday (Aug. 13).