Bucoda Thriller Dance

Dancers do their best impression of the undead during "Thrill the World" event in Bucoda.

A couple dozen people braved the cold in Bucoda Saturday afternoon in an attempt to help set the Guinness World Record for most dancers performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance at one time.

The yearly event, which slots in as part of the annual Boo-coda festivities in the south Thurston County hamlet, was part of the coordinated “Thrill the World” effort to have folks all over the world dance to the song all at once. The world record for most dancers in one location was set in 2009 just two months after Michael Jackson’s death when 13,597 people came together to show off their scary dance moves in Mexico City. Then, in October of that same year, Thrill the World set the combined dance record when 22,923 “zombies” from 264 cities in 33 countries all boogied at one time.

Bucoda Thriller Dance

Dancers keep zombie time during the Thriller dance in Bucoda during the "Thrill the World" event on Saturday.

Shelly Smith, chair of Bucoda’s Thrill the World council, explained the inspiration for the unique event.

“The town was doing the haunted house and they wanted to do anything they could to help promote it and it’s a world involvement record. Everybody in the whole world is doing it at the same time. It’s part of the official ‘Thrill the World’,” explained Smith. “People drive from all over but it’s kind of a niche. Not everybody is brave enough to get out and do the dance.”

Bucoda Thriller Dance

Katrina (left) and Jessica Telnak of Olympia show off their 'Thriller' dance moves during the "Thrill the World" world record attempt in Bucoda on Saturday.

Smith noted that ‘Boocoda’ has hosted a “Thrill the World” dance each of the last eight years. Their best town turnout was 25 dancers. Last year there were 18 dancers chopping it up downtown. An official tally of dancers around the world for the 2019 incarnation was not available by press time but at least 15 zombies, skeletons, and other ghouls took to the streets of Bucoda to do their part.

The Telnack family of Olympia made up part of that thrilling contingent with daughter, Katrina, convincing her mom and dad, Jeniffer and Lee, to make the trek and throw together some spooky costumes.

Bucoda Thriller Dance

Dancers keep zombie time dong the 'Thriller' dance in Bucoda during the "Thrill the World" event on Saturday. Dancers all over the world performed the dance at the same time in a world record attempt.

“She saw it somewhere in the news and then she told me about it and I thought it would be so fun,” said Katrina, giving her mother credit for discovering the event.

While Lee took photos from the periphery it was Jeniffer and Katrina Telnack who did the dancing, even if some of the moves escaped their muscle memory at times.

Asked how familiar she was with the dance Katrina replied, “Not very. I’ve seen the videos a few times and spent some time practicing. A little bit by myself and then the rest with her.”

Bucoda Thriller Dance

Zombies pull themselves off the ground as they begin to perform the 'Thriller' dance during part of a world record attempt in Bucoda on Saturday.

Despite Jennifer Telnack’s experience she was hardly any more confident than her zombie daughter.

“I’ve kind of forgotten a lot. I knew it all by heart a long time ago,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer Telnack admitted she experienced a bit of stage fright when she arrived and saw how few dancers there would be to hide behind. The family said that they tried to recruit their friends to come out to the dance but couldn’t find anyone brave enough. In any case, they plan on returning next year to dance and participate in other ‘Boo-coda’ events like the scary casket races.

Alan Carr, mayor of Bucoda, noted that there are changes in store for next year’s spooky season.

Bucoda Thriller Dance

Awards were handed out at the conclusion of the "Thrill the World" dance in Bucoda on Saturday, including for best makeup and best overall 'Thriller' performance.

“We are planning for next year already. This year the contract expires so next year the town is taking over the haunted house 100 percent,” said Carr, noting that the change will mean all proceeds from the event will be returned to the town’s coffers. “Next year we’re going to change things around and have more things going on during the day.”

The ‘Boo-coda’ Haunted House will be open this week from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 7-11 p.m. on Friday.

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