Sedalia is on the verge of holding the world record for the largest Christmas stocking. It’s not just a massive red and white creation that stretches roughly 175 feet tall and 75 feet long, heel to toe. It’s also a product of love, some sleepless nights and a community coming together to support 1,200 underprivileged Pettis County kids in western Missouri.
In July, Charlie Thomas with Missourinet affiliate KDRO (AM1490) in Sedalia took on the mission of applying to the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of capturing the title from Carrara, Italy. He wanted the endeavor to be in conjunction with Sedalia’s 36th annual Community Santa campaign that provides Christmas toys and food vouchers to disadvantaged families. Thomas also wanted to give the Show-Me State some national attention.
“I thought, because of Community Santa, which I’ve been involved in for many years, that we should do something spectacular to really draw attention to that cause,” said Thomas.
So, the radio morning show host hopped onto the rooftop of a local mall, picked up his microphone and spent a day asking listeners for donations.
“People would come in with $3, $5, $10, whatever they could afford. It’s everyone in the community as a whole who have come together to make this happen,” said Thomas. “It’s all on the citizenry here in the Sedalia area. They contributed. They made it happen.”
After his rooftop Santa routine was over, Thomas and the community continued the homegrown efforts to bring some holiday cheer to families that Thomas said would not otherwise have a Christmas.
“The cost of the fabric wasn’t really all that great. It was in the neighborhood of about $3,000. I was able to raise that on the air in a matter of a few weeks,” Thomas told Missourinet. “That speaks well to the people in Sedalia and Missouri, in general.”
He said many people have volunteered countless hours of their time stitching the giant sock together.
“About three dozen people have worked, most of them from First Christian Church. They have a sewing group there,” said Thomas.
Guinness rules state a professional must oversee the project. Thomas enlisted Kay Shull, owner of Kay’s Bridal.
The leg portion is about 50 feet across. Thomas said Sedalia has far surpassed Italy’s version. The community will gather on Tuesday for the official measurements.
“If you set the foot on the goal line of a football field, it would stretch to the 40-yard line on the opposite side of the field,” said Thomas.
The cuff reads Sedalia, MO, USA.
“We bought the fabric here in Kansas City. We kept it all in Missouri, so it will be a complete Missouri record,” said Thomas. “We’re bringing the record back to America.”
The stocking must be measured by a qualified surveyor in the presence of two independent witnesses, the rules state. Pettis County Surveyor Kerry Turpin will measure the stocking with Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher and Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond serving as witnesses. Reports, videos and photos will then be sent to Guinness.
Tuesday’s event will get underway at 5 p.m. at the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Thomas hopes the community will fill the estimated 4,500-seat venue during this season of giving.
“We can’t save the world, but we can save our little part of it here in Missouri,” he said.