"Lucy" look-alikes honor Lucille Ball's 100th birthday

Sat Aug 6, 2011 6:49pm EDT
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By Neale Gulley

JAMESTOWN, New York (Reuters) - More than 900 red-lipsticked, redheaded women -- and men -- gathered near a "Vitameatavegamin" sign in the hometown of "I Love Lucy" star Lucille Ball to mark her 100th birthday on Saturday with a world record for most Lucy look-alikes.

Sporting upswept hairdos and blue and white polka dot dresses, the crowd of 915 Lucy Ricardos set to establish the first Guinness world record in her honor. It was all part of the annual Lucy Fest in Jamestown, which drew fans from as far away as Australia to the normally sleepy town of 30,000 people in upstate New York.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience. It has to be the best time in my life," said Cindy Wilson, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio.

Wilson started watching the "I Love Lucy" show in reruns when she was 7 years old and has a Lucy stick figure tattoo on her left foot, while sitcom husband Ricky adorns her right. She said her fiance's name is Ricky, and joked that's one reason she is marrying him.

Across generational and gender divides, those who love Lucy milled about a downtown plaza under a mural painted with the word "Vitameatavegamin" in three-foot-high letters. For Lucy fans, the well-known tincture made famous on her long-running TV sitcom needs no explanation.

Some revelers recited the word in unison, others sang "Happy Birthday" in honor of what would have been Ball's 100th birthday on August 6.

Amid the hoopla, a man proposed to his girlfriend, both wearing nightshirts imprinted with the image of a polka-dot dress and holding cardboard cutouts of Lucy up to their faces in accordance to Guinness' qualifying guidelines. She said yes and the crowd roared.

Kelly Wright, a natural redhead from Grand Valley, Pennsylvania simply wore one of her own polka dot dresses to look the part.   Continued...

<p>Lucille Ball look-a-likes pose at the premiere of the new film "Rat Race" in Los Angeles July 30, 2001. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>