2018 : 8th Annual Gilda’s LaughFest Begins in Grand Rapids

March 8, 2023 all-day

Gilda’s LaughFest 2018 is scheduled for March 8-18.

Gilda’s Club is named for Saturday Night comedian Gilda Radner, who wrote the book “It’s Always Something.” After Gilda died of ovarian cancer in 1989, her husband, comedian Gene Wilder, and cancer therapist Joanna Bull started Gilda’s Club to support people afflicted with cancer. Attendees can enjoy the hilarity of the comedians while supporting a good cause. Proceeds from LaughFest, which has averaged 55,000 attendees per year since its 2011 inception, go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

For a number of years, the Grand Rapids LaughFest set out to grab Guinness World Records as part of its festivities.

LaughFest opened in 2011 with a rubber chicken toss in downtown Grand Rapids. A total of 925 faux fowl were thrown, shattering ring the previous record of 265 set near Boston. That record has since been surpassed.

In 2012, 607 people wore chicken beaks and performed the chicken dance to set the record for the greatest number of people wearing animal noses at once. LaughFest still holds that record.

In 2013 1,532 people donned fake mustaches to smoke the previous 648 set at an event sponsored by the St. Louis Rams. That record was soon surpassed.

In 2014 LaughFest set a new record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark with 1,675 certified participants.

In 2015 the attempt at the most people wearing paper crowns failed because cold weather forced the event indoors.

In 2016 the festival again tried to break the record for tossing rubber chickens.

More recently, Gilda’s LaughFest has also been sponsoring a FunderWear Run. This unique race invites participants to wear their finest (and funniest!) underwear over their running clothes in support of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids! So forget black tie, there is a NEW dress code in town for fundraising events-underwear! Help us bring laughter and awareness of emotional health to the streets of Grand Rapids. Hey, when else can you run (or walk!) around in your underwear and NOT have it end with a ride in the back seat of a fancy car with flashing lights?

For more information, see LaughFest

For an article, see Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, “LaughFest 2015 plans crowning achievement to set new Guinness World Record”, MLive, February 24, 2015.

Nate Reens, “Festival kicks off Thursday with world record attempt”, MLive, March 2, 2016.

LaughFest on Facebook

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