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LECANTO — Sherry Knight is feeling in the pink these days.
On Tuesday, Knight, manager of The Path Shelter thrift store in Lecanto, learned that the pink flamingos that grace the interior and exterior of the store have made a Guinness World Record.
Back in February, the official count was 619 when she submitted the paperwork documenting her collection for world record status, Knight said. There’s even more now.
“Everybody’s been asking, ‘Did you hear yet? Did you hear?’ When the certificate came in the mail, I yelled, ‘Yes! We made it!’” she said.
Although the store is credited with a world record for the most flamingo-related items, it’s not a guarantee that the record will be included in the world-famous annual book of records.
Knight said that’s OK.
She said it has been a great advertising tool and a vehicle to bring the community together. People are constantly stopping by to give her flamingos or to tell her flamingo-related trivia.
“What a blessing,” she said. “It started when I needed something for advertising and to let people know we were here and the only thing I had a lot of was flamingos, and so the flock began.”
Since she started her collection some 30 years ago, she has learned more than she ever thought she wanted to learn about these long-legged, long-necked birds.
“I know that Hialeah Race Track has the largest collection of real flamingos in the United States and that there’s an island in Africa, Flamingo Island, with thousands and thousands of flamingos,” she said.
“I even have some feathers from there — a man from church brought them back from a missionary trip and gave them to me.”
Knight said she doesn’t know what’s next for her or the store other than to keep growing the flock — and to get a bright pink mat to frame the certificate and put it prominently on display.
“We did what we wanted, and that was to raise awareness for the homeless, and if it took a tacky pink bird to do it, hallelujah,” she said. “Everybody’s had fun with this, and it’s been a blast.”
Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy can be reached at (352) 564-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.