The record attempt will be in the category of "World's Largest Dessert Party at One Location."
The current world record was set June 8 by the city of Ludington, Mich., which earned entry into the Guinness World Records by having 1,558 people consume a single serving of dessert simultaneously.
Hannibal officials want to top that record by having 2,019 people eat cupcakes while lined up along four blocks of Main Street. The record-breaking attempt is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. sharp, and everyone is invited to take part.
"It's open to anyone of any age from any location," said McKenzie Disselhorst, executive director of the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, one of several organizations sponsoring the event. Others include the Hannibal Bicentennial Committee, the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Hannibal and the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council.
Disselhorst said the organizations were looking for a fun and distinctive way to cap off the 200th anniversary of when Hannibal was chartered as a town in 1819. That's when the idea was hatched for the cupcake-eating challenge.
"If you're going to celebrate with a party at the end, why not break a world record and put Hannibal on the map?" Disselhorst said.
The record-setting attempt will be carried out in several steps.
In the first step, participants will be asked to register between 5 and 6:30 p.m. by signing their names at one of several tables in the 100, 200, 300 and 400 blocks of Main Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic. Every person who registers will be given a numbered token corresponding with one of the four blocks.
Then at 6:45 p.m., participants will be asked to gather in a line along Main Street in their assigned block.
"We will then have volunteers coming through with boxes of cupcakes, and the people will redeem their tokens for a cupcake," Disselhorst said.
By doing the distribution of cupcakes in this manner, organizers will have two ways of keeping track of how many people are officially taking part in the record-setting event.
"We'll count with the registration list and we'll count with the tokens, so we'll have a double mechanism to count the people," Disselhorst said.
Finally, at 7 p.m. sharp, a fire truck parked near Main and Broadway will begin sounding its siren as a signal for everyone to take a bite of their cupcakes.
Disselhorst said participants don't have to eat the entire cupcake, "but they need to take a bite of it there."
She said photographers along the street and overhead will be taking photos that will be submitted to Guinness to help verify how many cupcake eaters took part.
Disselhorst said the city only needs to have 1,559 participants to break the world record, but organizers are nonetheless shooting for 2,019, which is how many cupcakes are being ordered.
Disselhorst feels confident the goal can be reached because Hannibal's annual "Living Windows" Christmas event will be taking place that evening in downtown Hannibal.
"They always have a good crowd downtown for that, and people seem to be really excited about this," she said. "So if the weather is relatively decent, I think we'll make it."
Disselhorst said everyone who participates in the word-record attempt will receive a commemorative button as a keepsake. The buttons will be given out as the same time the cupcakes are distributed.
Disselhorst said all of the cupcakes will be vanilla flavored with vanilla frosting "because we needed to keep things simple." All of the cupcakes are being made by commercially licensed and inspected businesses and bakeries in the Hannibal area.
"They're coming from a variety of different places, and they're all good," Disselhorst said.
Gail Bryant, director of the HCVB, said she, too, is optimistic that Hannibal will set the world record. The sponsoring organizations are already challenging the future organizers of Hannibal's 250th anniversary celebration in 2069 to try to beat whatever number is reached in 2019.
"We have included several of the community's youth to volunteer in organizing the event with us this year to share our story at that time," Bryant said.