'Twisted in Mayberry' seeks 2,000 dancers

Things are about to get pretty twisted in Mayberry.

The town of Mount Airy, hometown of Andy Griffith and widely regarded as the inspiration for Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show," hopes to set a new world record soon - and raise a little money for the local food bank while they're at it.

On Sept. 9, the town will try to break the world record for the number of people simultaneously dancing the Twist.

The "Twisted in Mayberry" event has set a goal of at least 2,000 dancers. Mount Airy has a 2010 population of just over 10,000 people.

The current record of 1,692 dancers was set last year in Glendale, Calif.

Jessica Icenhour, director of tourism and marketing for Mount Airy, says participants must dance for a full five minutes to a mix of songs that at least reference the Twist in the title or lyrics.

They plan to use Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and "Twist Again," along with "Twist and Shout" by the Beatles.

Icenhour said that the Guinness World Records approval process requires every aspect of the attempted record-breaking to be carefully documented and that the dance will be videotaped for verification.

Every single person Twisting must be registered with Guinness, potentially making them part of history. Hundreds of people have already registered, and Icenhour says they've gotten verbal commitments from many teams who plan to show up and register the day of the event. Organizers feel sure they'll hit their goal of 2,000 dancers.

"We're being confident," Icenhour said. "This all came up very quickly, so we're trying to get the word out as quickly as we can."

Icenhour says they've heard from people as far away as Virginia and West Virginia who plan to attend, and that the town is excited to have any out-of-town and out-of-state visitors.

Guinness also requires a dance instructor not affiliated with the event be on hand to instruct folks on exactly how to Twist, and then supervise said twisting.

So it's a good thing Mount Airy has its own professional choreographer, Joey Marion, to fill that role. Marion has already given Twist lessons and endurance advice to townsfolk at the local library.

All of this was the brainstorm of disc jockey Brack Llewellyn of WSYD-AM, a country station in MountAiry.

The event will also have a 1950s costume contest. And Klassix, a local oldies band, will play throughout the afternoon. Klassix will also perform the Twist songs for the official Guinness attempt.

All participants are asked to pre-register and donate at least $1 to Yokefellow Ministry, which runs a food bank in Surry County.

An extra $5 gets you a limited-edition T-shirt.