ITASCA – In July 2009, a world record was set.
Itasca and Subaru of America Inc. Great Lakes Region set the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Subaru cars. The parade included 339 cars traveling a 4.2-mile route through Itasca.
This past September, Elk Rapids, Mich., tried to beat Itasca’s record with 356 vehicles and a Guinness World Record minimum parade length of two miles. To hold the Guinness World Record, a Guinness World Record adjudicator must be present at the event. The Elk Rapids parade was not authorized by a Guinness adjudicator, and Itasca’s reign as record-holder remained.
To secure the title from future contenders, the village of Itasca and Subaru of America Inc. Great Lakes Region decided to have another go at the record, Subaru representative Tom Gehrke said.
“It was the right time to go for it again,” Gehrke said.
During a 2.5-mile parade July 13, the village beat its previous record by 32 vehicles.
The parade of 371 Subaru cars began at 9 a.m. at the Subaru office, 500 Park Blvd., traveled to Thorndale Avenue, west to Prospect Avenue, south to Irving Park Road, west to Walnut Street, east on North Street to Arlington Heights Road, back on Thorndale and finished back on Park.
Cars from 13 states, including Indiana, New York, Texas and Virginia, registered for the event. More than 400 people participated. Families decorated their cars, and performance drivers were present to give the crowd a good show. Also in attendance were members of two charities.
The parade raised $10,000 from registration fees and donations from Subaru of America Inc. Donations of $5,000 were given to Pets are Worth Saving Chicago (PAWS), Chicago’s largest no-kill animal organization, and Salute Inc. of Prospect Heights, an organization that helps military personnel and their families.
“It’s nice to break the record,” Gehrke said, “but it’s nice to give back too.”
Subaru also donated a 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the Itasca Police Department. About every 18 months, Subaru donates a brand-new car to the department, Gehrke said.
The department adds lights and decals and brings it to Itasca events, including the Annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games. The car also is present at the nation’s largest and longest-running auto show, Chicago Auto Show, every year and is the most photographed car at the auto show, village Special Events Coordinator Dan Kompanowski said.
Guinness World Record adjudicator Michael Empric was at the event to record the broken record and to award Itasca and Subaru America with a certificate of achievement.
The relationship between Itasca and Subaru America also is strengthened by this event and broken record.
“We want to thank the village of Itasca,” Gehrke said. “They are great people who open things up when it’s a great cause.”