Leura Charleston dancers break own world record

More than 300 feathered, furred and frilled dancers filled Leura Mall on Saturday, smashing the Guinness World Record for the largest Charleston dance on the planet.

The 319 flappers and gangsters clad in 1920s era garb easily broke the record set last year of 276 dancers.

Under glorious blue skies, Charlestoners included Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage, Macquarie MP Louise Markus, festival patron and TV presenter Claudia Chan Shaw and festival ambassador Charlotte Smith, owner of the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.

Festival producer Sandy Luxford said: “I’m thrilled, of course. While we would have retained the world record title regardless, it is extremely satisfying to have set a new record - and we like being told we are ‘officially amazing’ by Guinness World Records.

“What has made the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge such a success is that it is fun, costs virtually nothing and really is for the whole community.

“You don’t have to be a professional dancer or wear expensive vintage clothes to be part of the challenge. You just need to have a go for five minutes. We have people here of all shapes and sizes, young and old, male and female. 

“It has been a fantastically fun equaliser.”

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker congratulated all involved in the challenge, including Leura Village Association, and welcomed the addition of the Long Lunch in Leura Mall as a major festival event.

“The 1920s era is all about living for the moment and having fun and that is what we hope you take away from this.

“But the festival has only just begun, and is a great opportunity to treat yourself to a short break and fully immerse yourself in the Roaring 20s Festival and its many activities and events.”

Welcoming the crowd, Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill thanked the many visitors to the Mountains for “giving us the tonic we need” after recent hardship and injecting financial and emotional energy into the local economy, especially the tourism industry.

He urged locals and visitors to become ambassadors for the area, share their positive experiences with family and friends and encourage others to visit the Mountains.

The annual public dance challenge officially kicked off the popular Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz at various venues throughout the area until February 23.

The festival celebrates the golden era of opulence, architecture and jazz music with events including the Highlands, Steam & Vintage Fair at Oberon; Glamour & Gowns Ball at Lithgow; Grand Afternoon Tea at The Paragon; and 1920s Ragtime and Radio Plays at the Mountain Heritage Hotel.

More information at www.roaring20s.com.au.

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