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Fire Island drag party sets Guinness record with 440 Madonnas

Sporting the many looks of Madonna, organizers of

Sporting the many looks of Madonna, organizers of the 19th annual Fool's Paradise Drag Party in Fire Island Pines pose with an adjudicator from Guinness World Records on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, after setting the record for "Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Madonna." Photo Credit: The Fool's Paradise Drag Party

Wearing a shoulder-length blonde wig, fishnet stockings and a black bodysuit, Chris DeCarlo showed up to this year’s Fool’s Paradise Drag Party on Fire Island channeling Madonna’s look in her “Turn Up the Radio” music video.

Other male guests rocked Madge’s Rockford Peaches uniform from her role in the movie, “A League of Their Own.” There were white lacy “Like a Virgin” Madonnas, “Material Girls” in fuchsia gowns, and plenty of men sporting high ponytails and cone-shaped brasseries at the Aug. 30 party.

Together, they created a living tribute to the pop icon’s 30-plus year career and set a new Guinness World Record in the process.

A GWR spokeswoman confirmed that the party guests now hold the record for “Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Madonna.”

A GWR adjudicator attended the event at the Fire Island Pines vacation home DeCarlo, 45, of Manhattan, rents with friends. He’s one of several organizers of the party, now in its 19th year.

As guests arrived they had to report to the Guinness official, who would evaluate their costume and compare it to a photo of the real Madonna sporting the same look. If the adjudicator deemed their outfit to be a suitable match, DeCarlo said they were given a pink bracelet. (The guests who came dressed as “The Madonna,” as in the Virgin Mary, were not eligible to participate in the record attempt, he added.)

About two hours into the party, DeCarlo said all the “Madonnas” wearing the wristbands -- 440 in total -- were assembled together, and spent five minutes dancing to the Queen of Pop’s music. Then, the GWR representative made it official.

“He said, ‘Welcome to the Guinness family. You are all officially amazing,’” DeCarlo said. “Then, the confetti cannons shot off.”

DeCarlo said the idea to set a Guinness World Record came up this spring as the party planners were brainstorming theme ideas for this year’s event. No one had established this record before, but after contacting Guinness, DeCarlo said he learned that any mass participation record required a minimum of 250 people.

DeCarlo said the invitations for this year’s party mentioned the record attempt, but he wasn’t sure how the guests would respond.

“I didn’t know if people would balk at the world record, because it’s too public,” he said.

They didn’t. More guests than ever turned out, he said, “rising to the challenge.”

Admission to the party was free, but dressing in drag was required. Many attendees also made an optional donation to the Fire Island Pines Volunteer Fire Department, raising just over $12,000, DeCarlo said.

“Setting the record was fun,” he said. “But what the party is always about is this sense of community that we have on Fire Island.”

And as for Madonna, he added, “I like to think she knows about the party.”

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