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Bring your Subaru to Birch Bay to help break Guinness world record

A parade of Subarus lines up in Itasca, Ill., on July 24, 2013 to set a then-world record of nearly 400 Subaru cars. A group of enthusiasts in Russia hold the current record of 549 cars, which Dewey Griffin Subaru of Bellingham is hoping to break Sunday, June 5 in Birch Bay .
A parade of Subarus lines up in Itasca, Ill., on July 24, 2013 to set a then-world record of nearly 400 Subaru cars. A group of enthusiasts in Russia hold the current record of 549 cars, which Dewey Griffin Subaru of Bellingham is hoping to break Sunday, June 5 in Birch Bay . Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

If you think you’re seeing more Outbacks, Foresters and Imprezas around Bellingham this weekend, it’s not an illusion. Hundreds of Subaru owners are attempting to break a record for the world’s longest parade of such vehicles.

“I would call Whatcom County the Subaru capital of the world,” said Tanya McKinney, the marketing and digital media coordinator for Dewey Griffin Subaru in Bellingham. “How many Subarus do you see every day around here? They’re kind of all over the place.”

But at noon Sunday, June 5, you might see even more of the ubiquitous all-wheel-drive cars. That’s when Subaru fans will drive south from the Birch Bay Waterslides, along the waterfront on Birch Bay Drive to a turnaround at Birch Bay State Park, where they hope to set a Guinness world record for the longest parade of Subaru vehicles.

They need at least 550 cars to break the record, but they’re hoping for 700. About 500 cars were registered as of Wednesday, June 1, said Randy Parten, president of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce. He’s optimistic that they’ll beat the record, noting that “at our last car event, we had 148 day-of signups.”

(The Russians) were kind of talking smack and we know it’s not true. There’s national pride here.

Tanya McKinney, Dewey Griffin Subaru

The current record is 549 cars, set in Moscow during a Subaru rally on Aug. 15, 2015. But Dewey Griffin and the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce are working to break that mark, McKinney said, adding that the Russians have mocked the local effort.

“(The Russians) were kind of talking smack and we know it’s not true. There’s national pride here,” McKinney said.

It won’t be the only local Guinness record attempt this weekend. In Lynden, the Chamber of Commerce hopes to have the world’s longest strawberry shortcake after the annual Farmers Day Parade on Saturday, June 4.

Officials at the Birch Bay chamber are handling registration, vehicle security, emergency repairs, street closures, aerial documentation and other logistics for the Subaru event, which is part of a weekend celebration because many Subaru owners are traveling from out of town. There will be live music and food vendors from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the water slides. Festivities will be emceed by former Seattle Seahawks placekicker Norm Johnson, and Seahawks attire is encouraged.

A lot of these cars are really neat. Some are pretty much show cars, they’re pretty tricked out.

Randy Parten, Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce

In addition, several modified Subaru vehicles will be on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Birch Bay Square, just off Interstate 5 exit 270.

“A lot of these cars are really neat,” Parten said. “Some are pretty much show cars, they’re pretty tricked out.”

Registered participants in the event receive a pass to the water slides, a Subaru swag bag, and are entered in a drawing for $1,000 cash from Dewey Griffin, which is donating $1 per registered car to local nonprofit The Bridge @ Birch Bay.

Guinness rules say the event must be documented by four video cameras on the ground and by two drones, and “we only have one shot at this,” Parten said.

McKinney said the best place for viewers to watch would be at the turnaround area at Birch Bay State Park.

Online advance registration for the event is $10 for each driver and $5 for each passenger, to offset the nonprofit chamber’s costs. For local residents who want to participate, staging will start at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 5, at the Birch Bay Waterslides, 4874 Birch Bay-Lynden Road. Same-day registration — which is discouraged — will be $20 for a driver and $5 for each passenger.

“We want you to be part of history,” McKinney said. “Who’s going to turn you away?”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @bhamMitty

SUBARU PARADE

Attempt to set the world’s longest line of Subaru vehicles

When: Noon Sunday, June 5

Where: Birch Bay Drive, from the Birch Bay Waterslides to Birch Bay State Park and back

Register: Online at birchbaychamber.com/subaru-record-attempt.html or call 360-371-5004 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Cost: $10 for a driver and $5 for each passenger; $20 and $5 on event day (advance registration is encouraged; cutoff is 700 cars)

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