Guinness World Record attempt taking place in York

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Jim Lewin, the owner of The York Emporium, contacted Guinness World Records to attempt a new record for the world's largest cigar box guitar ensemble.

For the 10th annual Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival, event organizer Jim Lewin wanted to do something a little different — set a world record.

And, after waiting months to find out if it was possible, an email from Guinness World Records last week  confirmed Lewin's aspiration: an attempted record for the world's largest cigar box guitar ensemble. 

"I wanted to do something a little special," Lewin, the owner of the York Emporium, said of his upcoming festival. 

The record will be attempted during the Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24.

This will be the first-ever attempt for this record.

The festival will be held in the parking lot of the York Emporium, located at  343 W. Market St. The event is free to the public.

To qualify for  the world record, Lewin must document the entire event and have a roster of each person participating in the ensemble. 

To assist with proper documentation of each participant, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich will be helping out. 

The cigar box guitar is a traditional folk instrument that was first documented during the Civil War, Lewin said. 

It rose in popularity since and has roots in Bluegrass and Appalachia music. 

The Cigar Box Guitar was first documented during the Civil War.

During the 10th annual Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar festival, 14 bands from across the country will be playing continuous music from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For those looking to participate in the world record attempt, Lewin said it is encouraged to bring your own cigar box guitar. However, cigar box guitars will be sold during the festival to those who do not have one. 

During the world record attempt, a cover of George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" will be played. 

Lewin said he decided on that song because it is an easy song to play. 

The entire festival will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook, as well as broadcast on White Rose Community Television, channels 16 and 18.

"This is just a home-grown kind of thing," Lewin said. "It's just a lot of fun."

Headlining the festival this year will be York-based artist Shane Speal, known as the "King of the Cigar Box Guitar." 

Lewin said he expects to have more than 2,000 people attend this year's festival. 

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival Facebook page.

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.