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Winona hopes to set bow tie world record to honor former mayor

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A former mayor of Winona was known for his bow ties – lots of them.

The Winona Historical Society says one of the only surviving images of John Latsch is of him wearing a bow tie. And that gave town historians the idea to honor the natty, nature-loving millionaire with a Guinness World Record attempt – for the most people in one place wearing bow ties.

The attempt comes as part of Latsch Week, a weeklong celebration to honor the history and legacy of the former mayor, in an effort to inform more people about who Latsch was.

Latsch, the son of a Swiss immigrant, made his fortune after taking over his family's successful grocery business in 1909, after his father had died, according to the Winona Post.

He spent much of his life buying acres of land and deeding it back to the city and state so the public could use it – in all he donated about 18,000 acres of land that went on to become state parks in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Winona Post says.

In addition to the bow tie record attempt, events include river tours, a historical exhibit and program, canoe tours and a beach party.

Organizers will end the week of festivities Saturday with the bow tie record attempt – they need more than 850 people, but are hoping for at least 1,000, the Winona Daily News reports.

The historical society, and several other places around the city, are selling bow ties for $5. Event planners are asking people to wear their bow ties to Levee Park for a photo at 1 p.m. Saturday. Those in the photo will also be entered to win a canoe. Canoeing on rivers was one of Latsch's favorite pastimes, reports say.

In other world record news, David "The Bullet" Smith Jr., who holds the Guinness World Record for the greatest height achieved after being launched from a cannon, will be shot out of a cannon at Canterbury Park on Saturday, WCCO reports.

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