Maybe Rockford’s Tree Lighting Needs the Latvian Touch
Don't misunderstand me, I think the Christmas tree lighting ceremonies that we do here in Rockford at Stroll on State, Nicholas Conservatory, and several other places are really well done. It's just that a countdown, followed by the tree lighting, has trouble competing with a giant Rube Goldberg machine.
I really don't know very much about Riga, Latvia, other than that it's the capital city, and there are around 700,000 residents. Oh, and it seems as though a good number of those residents have a fair amount of spare time on their hands, as they've just been awarded a Guinness World Record for the largest Rube Goldberg machine.
For those unfamiliar with Rube Goldberg machines, the principle of a Rube Goldberg is to complete a simple task in the most complicated way possible. Riga's machine featured a diverse range of devices including traditional parts like wheels, levers and balls, as well as more unusual items like a fan, coffee maker, and a few thousand other things.
From Guinness World Records:
Possibly the most elaborate way anyone has turned on some festive lights, the chain reaction consisted of 412 individual mechanical steps. The chain reaction was set in motion by a red button, pressed by Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs and a Scandiweb representative. The incredible finale was initiated by a sound meter that was triggered by the shouts and screams of the guests. The challenge took two months to organise, with Scandiweb employees, construction masters and a number of volunteers helping design and test the incredible Rube Goldberg. Scandiweb successfully bettered the previous record of 382 steps achieved in Hungary back in April 2015, becoming record breakers in time for Christmas.
Take a look at the record-breaking attempt: