• Last modified 2709 days ago (March 22, 2012)


Who doesn't like free marshmallows?

The anticipation has been building for months, ever since Marion County Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson announced it in January. Finally, the payoff is this Saturday. Marion County Park and Lake will have a free marshmallow giveaway.

What do you mean I’m missing the point? Oh, right. The real point is attempting to set a world record for most people roasting marshmallows simultaneously and attract some publicity for a lake that is seriously underrated.

The weather last summer was almost as far from ideal as possible for the lake. A lack of significant rain to churn the water created conditions that resulted in blue-green algae blooms so severe that the lake was closed to swimming and other activities in the water. Extremely high temperatures made the inability to take a cooling dip in the lake just unbearable, and the number of visitors to the lake tumbled precipitously. Marion County Park and Lake wasn’t the only lake to suffer these problems, but it seemed especially hurt.

And before that, a violent windstorm early in the season made a mess of the lake and surrounding neighborhoods, snapping hundreds, probably even thousands. On the bright side, that storm made the world-record attempt possible. Without that storm, there wouldn’t be the pile of tree limbs that needed to be disposed of, somehow — and “somehow” became having a marshmallow roast, using the tree limbs to fuel the bonfire.

It would have been easy to pile up the tree limbs and wait for a day with the right conditions to just burn the pile. But Hudson found a solution that also should serve as a fun event for residents and a way to publicize the lake he is charged with managing. He deserves to be commended for his creativity. Also deserving thanks are the many volunteers who have stepped forward to help put on the event.

Regardless of whether the attempt sets a world record, it has been a worthy try and a lot of fun to think about. Weather could still put a damper on the fun. Rain could keep people away, and wind could even delay or cancel the marshmallow roast. For the next few days, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hoping for 75 degrees, partly cloudy, and just a breath of wind.

— Adam Stewart

Last modified March 22, 2012