Lake Norman & Mooresville

Paddleballers hope to set record

For a relatively small town, Davidson has had its share of achievements: In addition to being the home of Davidson College, a top-ranked school, the town built some of the first roundabouts in the state and is now home to a theater where patrons can wine and dine while they catch their favorite movies.

If all goes well next weekend, the town will notch another achievement: A Guinness World Record for the largest crowd of paddleballers in one place at one time. The effort will be part of Davidson College's annual Hurricane Hugo festival, which will be held Saturday.

The attempt to establish the world's paddleball record will be held at 11 a.m. on the Davidson Village Green, according to Steve Langley, who will lead the event. There is no established record for the most paddleballers in one place and time, he said.

Any record established on Saturday must be accepted by Guinness World Records.

Langley, a juggler, is known alternately as The Great Fettucini and the "paddleball king" for the many paddleballs he manipulates at one time.

"I first became interested in juggling while I was in cooking school" said Langley, 49, of Huntersville. "For a while, I worked as a chef during the day and juggled nights and weekends. Eventually, juggling became my number-one job."

Participants should be on the Village Green by 10:30 Saturday morning. The first 250 to sign up will be provided a paddleball they can keep and instructions courtesy of Active People Toys. The record attempt will be part of the festival, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon.

The other part of this year's festival, The Vaudeville Extravaganza, begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, in Davidson College's Duke Family Performance Hall. Langley will emcee the show and introduce a lineup of entertainers which includes Austin Bruckner, a 15-year-old 10th-grade juggler who attends the Community School of Davidson, and star Yo-Yo tosser Ed Haponik, a science and physics teacher at Davidson Day School.

This will be the 21st year for the Hugo Festival, which was originally held in Charlotte on Sept. 21 to mark the anniversary of the fierce and unusual 1989 hurricane that devastated the Charlotte region.