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Lynden, Washington Builds A Birthday Cake For The Record Books

The town of Lynden, Washington sits just to the south of the U.S.-Canadian border.  It's a small town of about 13,000 people.  

Lynden is also home to the Lynden Dutch Bakery (which makes a tasty short cake), Darigold (maker of cream, both ice and whipped), and of course, acres of berry farms.

Lynden just turned 125 years old recently, and to celebrate, folks there decided they needed a birthday cake — but not just any cake cake would do for such a celebration.  They wanted a really big birthday cake — one that would highlight all that Lynden had to offer.

So Gary Vis, executive director of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce, devised a plan to build the world's longest strawberry shortcake.  

Credit Ariel Van Cleave / KPLU
That's 1,250 feet of shortcake stretched across Lynden's downtown.

On June 4, thousands of people watched nearly 300 volunteers assemble the dessert section by section.  

When it was finally finished, the cake stretched a full 1,250 feet.  To put that in perspective, that's longer than the length of 20 semi-trailer trucks parked bumper to bumper, and nearly a long as three-and-a-half football fields placed side by side.

KPLU's Ariel Van Cleave was among those thousands watching volunteers meticulously lay out shortcake, spread strawberries, scoop ice cream and add whipped cream to this dessert that stretched along four blocks of Lynden's downtown.

She spoke with Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer about what small towns get out of these "quirky" events.

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.