CORVALLIS - Playing into the romantic lure of Valentine's Day, Oregon State University students are setting out to break the world record for the most couples kissing at once.
The record-seeking "Kiss-Off" starts at noon on Monday, Feb. 14, in the OSU Memorial Union Quad, said event coordinator Claire Redfearn, an OSU junior in pharmacy from Oregon City.
"It's a free event and it isn't just for students, this is for anyone who wants to show up," Redfearn said.
The students admit they've set an ambitious goal. The Guinness Book of Records lists the current world record as 5,327 couples kissing simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. That mark was set on Valentine's Day last year as part of the Close-up Lovapalooza festival in Manila, Philippines.
"Our focus really isn't on breaking the record," said student organizer Christina Makada, an OSU senior in communications from Ontario, Ore. "It's just nice to have a break from the educational aspects of our lives sometimes."
The idea hatched as Redfearn was thinking about something for OSU's Memorial Union Program Council to do to celebrate Valentine's Day.
"I wanted to do something fun, cheap and free." And, because it was Valentine's Day, kissing came to mind, Redfearn said.
The university's last attempt to kiss into the record books was in 1997 when the standing record was 1,420 couples all kissing at the same time. That attempt failed. However, OSU students did manage to break into the global spotlight in November 2003 when 766 students, faculty, staff and community members joined together to break the world pillow fight record.
The pillow fight record was subsequently broken and now stands at 2,773 people set in September 2004 in Dodgeville, Wis.