11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Facebook/LurayCaverns

By Sophie Boudreau

April 8, 2024

There are countless reasons to be proud of Virginia. We’ve got breathtaking natural wonders, historical sites galore, and just about everything in between—so it’s pretty darn easy to love Old Dominion. But did you know that some of the wackiest (and most impressive) world records were set right here in our state? From massive cakes to underground instruments, we’ve rounded up 11 of Virginia’s most unique and impressive world records.

World’s largest pleasure beach

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Facebook/Visit Virginia Beach

You’ve probably spent plenty of time in Virginia Beach, but did you know that this stretch of shoreline is considered the world’s largest pleasure beach? That’s right: Virginia Beach’s whopping 28 miles of Atlantic beachfront and 10 miles of coastline along Chesapeake Bay make it the largest such beach in the world. From carnival food to campsites, there’s something for everyone.

World’s largest Arby’s

Roast beef, anyone? Whether or not you consider yourself a frequent patron of Arby’s, you’ll be tickled to learn that the largest Arby’s in the world sits right here in Virginia. Located in Colonial Heights, the restaurant boasts 7,125 square feet of space and offers diners a lodge-like atmosphere—a far cry from your average fast food vibe.

World’s heaviest butternut squash

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Guinness World Records

In September 2023, Virginia snagged another world record thanks to farmer Jason Loris, whose 131.4-pound butternut squash weighed in at the State Fair of Virginia in Doswell. The squash, which measured an incredible 59 inches long and 34.5 inches side to side, wowed crowds and made squash fanatics’ mouths water.

Largest natural underground musical instrument

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Facebook/LurayCaverns

Never visited the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns? You’re missing out on a world record-holding phenomenon. Composed of 3.5 miles of stalactites (rock formations) ,which are wired to a keyboard and can be struck with mallets to produce melodic tones, the Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest example of a lithophone. You can check out the spectacular organ for yourself during a visit to Luray.

World’s largest free-standing manmade illuminated star

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Ben Schuim

It’s a mouthful: The world’s largest free-standing manmade illuminated star. But it’s ours, and we’re proud! The Roanoke Star, sometimes referred to as the Old Mountain Star, shines brightly atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke. Thet 60,000-pound star stands 88.5 feet tall and can be seen for an impressive 60 miles from the air. While you’ll often see it shining exclusively in white, the local landmark can also be illuminated in neon blue and red.

Most ice hockey puck shots in one minute

In February 2021, Virginian Robert Covington broke an unusual world record when he made 37 ice hockey shots in one minute during a fundraiser challenge in Virginia Beach. Covington’s brisk achievement raised nearly $900 to benefit Operation Smile, which aids children internationally who are born with cleft palate or cleft lip. Talk about record-setting for a good cause!

World’s largest kugel

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Facebook/Science Museum of Virginia

Never heard of a kugel? No problem: You can get well-acquainted with these balanced, spherical balls of polished stone that sit in perfectly shaped sockets and often “float” in thin water streams with a day trip in Virginia. The largest kugel in the world is the Mary Mortons Parsons Earth-Moon Sculpture at Richmond’s beloved Science Museum of Virginia. This eye-catching display measures 8 feet and 8 inches in diameter and can be “spun” by visitors of all ages.

World’s tallest cake pyramid

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Guinness World Records

If you’re like us, you just perked up at the mention of cake. In November 2016, Virginia became the site of a delicious world record when bakers and dessert engineers from Stratford University constructed a 9-foot, 2-inch cake pyramid at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge. The cake, which was covered in American flags and military branch emblems, drew spectators galore and was intended to honor both Veterans Day and the 40th anniversary of Stratford University itself.

World’s longest gum wrapper chain

Don’t throw away those gum wrappers when you’re finished chomping—you might have a chance to challenge existing world record holder Gary Duschl, who holds the world record for longest gum wrapper chain at an impressive 106,810 feet. Duschl, who completed the chain at his home in Virginia Beach, kicked off the project in 1965 and finished it in 2020.

Most lightning strikes survived

Most of us will be fortunate to experience zero lightning strikes in our lifetimes. For Roy Sullivan, a Virginia-based park ranger, the number was seven. Yes, seven! Sullivan’s first lightning strike hit in 1942, leading to the loss of his big toenail. Until his death in 1983, he was struck six more times, resulting in bodily burns, torched hair, and ankle injuries. Sullivan survived each and every one of his encounters with lightning, earning him the nickname “Spark Ranger.”

World’s largest administrative building

11 weird and wonderful world records set right here in Virginia

Photo source: Wikimedia/Public Domain

It’s no secret that the Pentagon is massive, but did you know that the Arlington landmark is actually the world’s largest administrative building? In addition to housing the Department of Defense, the Pentagon boasts a mind-boggling 6.5-million square feet of space and 17.5 miles of hallways. With upwards of 25,000 employees reporting to work at the Pentagon each day, it’s bigger than some small towns!

  • Sophie Boudreau

    Sophie Boudreau is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience covering lifestyle, culture, and political topics. She previously served as senior editor at eHow and produced Michigan and Detroit content for Only In Your State.

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