Myrtle Beach celebrates 75th by breaking cupcake tower record

jrodriguez@thesunnews.comJuly 21, 2013 

Myrtle Beach proved Saturday that no one celebrates a 75th anniversary sweeter than the city itself.

The city, as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, partnered with the TLC hit show “DC Cupcakes” to shatter the Guinness World Record for tallest cupcake tower, previously set at 15 feet, 4 inches. Myrtle Beach’s tower of sweetness, which was built under a stabilized tent and in winds of up to 30 mph, topped out at 21 feet, 5 inches.

Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, the sister stars of the show, were on hand to sign autographs and wish the city a happy birthday.

“We had an amazing crew of volunteers from Myrtle Beach who helped put the tower together and helped break the world record,” LaMontagne said. “We’re just thrilled to be a part of it.”

Getting 7,500 cupcakes from the Washington, D.C., area to a potentially hot Myrtle Beach in the middle of July was no easy feat. The duo, along with about 20 other employees, spent 24 straight hours to make the frosted cupcakes on Wednesday. They then decided to freeze the cupcakes for 36 hours through Friday afternoon until Dean and Betty McClung, drivers of the FedEx Custom Critical truck, made it to their bakery.

“We actually didn’t know anything about the Guinness thing until we went to pick the cupcakes up,” Dean McClung said. “They said they needed a truck that gets down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and stays there. And as the details became more available, they said, ‘when you get there, they’re going to use your truck for storage until they get ready to do this.’ ”

The McClungs got to DC Cupcakes around 3 p.m. Friday, which is around the time Berman and LaMontagne realized they were going to be short of the 7,500 cupcakes ordered.

“They had to box a bunch more,” McClung said. “So, I was standing around and didn’t have much to do anyway, so I asked is there anything that I could do to help? I said ‘whatever you need, I’ll help you.’ They said ‘if you don’t mind, put these in the boxes.’ ”

Two and half hours of boxing later, the McClungs hopped in the truck and drove through the night with the frozen cupcakes.

The truck was backed to a cement slab on the old Pavilion property at Ninth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard. Gusts of smoke billowed from the back door of the truck as pallet after pallet was unloaded to a pre-made structure designed by BNB Designs.

The tower was designed where every three levels shrunk by six inches from the next three levels until the design came to a peak. Andrea Ballard and her husband, Jeff, designed the structure, and she said she wasn’t too concerned with the winds Saturday.

“It was windier [Friday] night when we were installing it,” she said, adding that 40 hours was spent the previous week to design it and 120 man hours was put into the structure, which was built in four days.

One by one cupcakes were slid into position to fill out the structure. Randy Lee was one of two men who spent about two hours placing the cupcakes in the tower.

“Just getting them to the other side was the hardest part,” Lee said. “That’s a lot of cupcakes. I’m a little tired, but I’ll make it. We got it done so all is good.”

Even Mayor John Rhodes couldn’t help but bask in the sweetness of the city’s new world record.

“We wanted to do something for the people of Myrtle Beach,” Rhodes said after the announcement was made that Myrtle Beach broke the record. He said the volunteers and the city are deserving of the recognition.

“We really are a young resort. And to think where we’ve come from. From a small little community that couldn’t grow tobacco ... now we’ve become a major resort city in our country.”

Megan Snead, 18, of West Virginia, squealed nearby as she clung on to a picture autographed by the cupcake duo.

“This made my summer,” she said with a smile. Her sister, Erika, was equally excited and even said she almost fainted.

“We both want to be bakers,” she said, motioning to Megan.

“They’re sisters, too. If they can do it, so can we,” Megan Snead said.

Catching a breather after signing autographs for nearly two hours and taking pictures with fans who lined across the lawn of the old Pavilion, Berman couldn’t help but let the world record set in.

“That’s no small feat building that thing,” she said. “Being able to celebrate the 75th anniversary and then breaking a world record is just icing on the cupcake.”

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him on Twitter @TSN_jrodriguez.

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