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‘Zumba Daddy’ sets sights on outdoor world record

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This will be one for the record books.

Brooklyn’s greatest Zumba impresario is looking to break the world record for the largest outdoor Zumba class at an American Cancer Society fund-raiser at MCU Park on July 20.

Joe Gillette — widely known as “Zumba Daddy” for his outsized interest in the Colombian aerobics routine and previous Zumba-related record attempts — thinks he has a real shot this time to set a world record — just not with the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

Getting a record certified by the Guinness folks can cost thousands of dollars, which doesn’t quite jibe with the cancer charity’s mission, so the Zumba-vangelist is turning to another achievement archivist to memorialize the record.

“This is my big chance,” said Gillette, “but Guinness was really impossible. They say anyone can break a record but to get them to take a serious look, they force you into position where you have to hire their monitors and put them up in a hotel.”

The price for a Guinness monitor — flown in from London — to officiate an attempt starts at around $7,500.

The record mavens also let people document their attempts and send evidence to merry old England for review, but because the record attempt would take thousands of people, Gillette would have to hire a professional auditing firm to witness the attempt, according to Guinness. To break the current record of 6,671 participants, Gillette would also need an army of at least 134 independent “stewards” — one for every 50 participants — aerial photos, and video evidence from several angles.

But even that is out of reach for a cancer charity event, Gillette said.

“It’s insane — it’s really insane,” he said. “For a non-profit like us with no budget, it’s impossible.”

Instead, the Zumba Daddy is turning to RecordSetters.com — a crowd-sourced record-keeping website which “The New Yorker” called the Wikipedia to Guinness’s “Encyclopedia Britannica.

Gillette started his Zumba crusade in mid-2012, because he figured the appeal of the dance could reach the widest number of potential American Cancer Society supporters.

“I was trying to get involved in schools and wanted something fitness-related that kids could get excited about,” he said. “It uses modern music, and people like me who can’t move and have no rhythm can do it.”

Gillette made his first attempt two years ago and bested his first crowd a year later after he conscripted a gymnastics class at Marine Park’s Aviator Sports Complex during his second attempt.

The Zumba Daddy and crew will make the record attempt Sunday afternoon before the Cyclones meet the Williamsport Crosscutters. Cyclones fans can join the record attempt for a $5 donation to the American Cancer Society, and MCU Park’s 7,500 seat capacity could give Gillette the edge he needs to break the Guinness record, even if the book does not acknowledge the attempt.

“If everyone in the stands joins in, that would be amazing,” he said.

World’s Largest Zumba Class at MCU Park (1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island) July 20 at 3:30 pm. $5 for Zumba class.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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