Women’s history marches on and in Panama City Beach, Fla., it apparently wears a bikini.
At least it did on Tuesday — six days into Women’s History Month, mind you — when 450 women donned two-piece suits, took to the local beach and set a new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bikini parade.
The parade, a veritable procession of pulchritude, bested the previous record holder, Gold Coast, Australia (357 marchers), which had previously stripped the Cayman Islands (355) of the distaff distinction.
“We were able to not just break the record but smash it,” said Dan Rowe, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, which sponsored the effort. “Everybody had a great time.”
Although clearly a celebration of fun (and exposed flesh), the event also had its serious side, raising $1,000 for Beach Care Services, a local charity that provides assistance to those in need.
It also entailed strict adherence to Guinness guidelines for such events. According to Philip Robertson, who adjudicated the parade for Guinness, the three main criteria were that all participants had to complete the full, one-mile parade route; they all had to be female and wearing a two-piece bikini (no tankinis or cover ups), and all participants had to keep their own bikinis on at all times and not try to share them.
“We had to add [the third one] to make sure nothing untoward happened,” Robertson told msnbc.com. “There have been previous incidents that were a little unsavory.”
The Panama City Beach event, on the other hand, was strictly PG. “We had young girls as young as three and the oldest was well over 60,” said Robertson. “It was really good to see.”
Of course, such a prodigious display of diminutive swimwear is unlikely to go unanswered for long and there’s already talk in Australia of pulling down the current winner’s, um, title.
“I spoke with the folks in Australia last night and [we] are all about the rivalry,” said Paul Tedeschi of StudentUniverse Media, which helped organize the event. “We love the idea that they’re going to try and take the record back, and guess what, if they do, we’re going to do the same next year. Game on!”
Bikinis too, ladies, bikinis too.
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Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.