Police blocked South 35th Street as a helicopter hovered above. Crowds of people craned their necks to get a better look.
his was history, after all. A world record.
A line of pizzas stretching the length of two football fields, from end zone to end zone.
“Excellent!” Scott Van Duzer exclaimed, as St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara announced the final measurement Saturday: 722 feet, 1 inch.
“I didn’t start for nothing,” said Van Duzer, owner of the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta on South 35th Street and the man behind the record.
Van Duzer said he was looking for a way to build support for his fledgling Van Duzer Foundation, which provides money to local families hit by tragedy. So he searched pizza-related records at the Guinness World Records Web site about four weeks ago and found the category of “longest line of pizzas.”
“There was no doubt we’d beat it,” Van Duzer, 41, said of the previous record of 611 feet, 2 inches, which was set in 2006 in Treviso, Italy. “It was just a matter of how much.”
About a dozen people helped make the pizzas in the middle of the night, starting three days before Saturday’s event, Van Duzer said. They went through 500 pounds of flour, 250 pounds of mozzarella and 30 gallons of pizza sauce for the 722 pizzas, which were given away after the official measurement.
Van Duzer asked the public for donations for his foundation, which will give part of Saturday’s proceeds to Allen Civita, the St. Lucie County firefighter who lost his Palm Bay home last week to wildfires.
“I was just so overwhelmed,” Civita said. “All these years the community has helped Scott, and now he’s giving back.”
Van Duzer’s record isn’t official yet: Mascara and Public Defender Diamond Litty have to hand-write statements on official letterhead, attesting to the record. The statements then have to be notarized and sent to Guinness for consideration.
“My job was to make sure the pizzas were touching,” Litty said.
Van Duzer didn’t get to rest after the official measurement: He was manning the oven, heating pizza slices for the hundreds of people who turned out for the event, which also featured bounce houses and a dunk tank.
Van Duzer said the real achievement was raising money for families in need.
“People need money when a crisis happens,” he said, “not weeks or months later.”