MADISON LAKE — To organizer Cynthia Frederick, gathering several hundred women to march in the World’s Largest Bikini Parade was a fun idea for a sun-suffused fundraiser.
“It just seemed like a natural fit to be able to raise public awareness of the importance of higher vitamin D levels,” said Frederick, owner of the Electric Beach tanning salon in Mankato.
To the Madison Lake City Council, this entry in the July 28 Paddlefish Days parade is not in keeping with a family tone.
“This parade shouldn’t have this image,” Councilman Chuck Ries said.
Frederick is hoping to break the world record for number of bikini-clad marchers in a parade, which was set earlier this year in Florida at 450.
But councilors are also concerned about the charity that will benefit from the walk, called the Breast Cancer Natural Prevention Foundation. According to its website, the group advocates cancer prevention through sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels.
Ries said he’s not a doctor, but tanning as a cancer-fighting activity is “inconsistent with (his) understanding” of the science.
Despite their opposition — four of five councilors are opposed to the bikini walk, the Lake Region Times reported July 11 — it doesn’t appear the City Council can prevent them from taking to the streets.
Madison Lake City Administrator Kelly Steele checked with the League of Minnesota Cities, which told her that it can’t bar specific parade entries.
Frederick said she has been surprised by the opposition, but said rumors around town have been spreading misinformation.
“Whenever you’re going to do something new, people have a tendency to be scared, especially when they don’t have information,” she said.
A 2-piece idea
The idea for the bikini walk has been rolling around in Frederick’s head for a few years, ever since she saw a report about a similar event in Australia.