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Bikini-clad participants stroll along the Paddlefish Days parade route Saturday in Madison Lake. Organizers had hoped to entice 450 people to don bikinis as a fund raising effort for breast cancer research and also to break a world record for the most bikini-clad marchers. About 100 showed up.

It was an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny group — far short of the world-record bikini parade that organizers had hoped-for — but the assembly of bikini-wearing women (and a couple of men in bikini tops) was the talk of the Paddlefish Days Parade in Madison Lake this afternoon.

It was clear early on that the number of southern Minnesota women willing to walk in scanty swim-wear before thousands of parade-watchers was far short the 451 needed to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark. With the record not attainable, organizer Cynthia Frederick told the women on hand to feel free to leave their shorts on over their bikini bottoms if they preferred.

Many did. The number in bikini tops appeared to be 39.

It was enough to prompt a lot of cameras in the hands of men, plenty of anticipation in the crowd and only quiet griping by some about the appropriateness of the entry. A majority of the Madison Lake City Council opposed the bikini parade — either because of skepticism about the charity involved or because it was inconsistent with the family-oriented nature of the annual festival in this town of about 935.

But the council didn’t try to ban the event, citing 1st Amendment rights.

Frederick was using the parade as a way to raise donations to a charity that focuses on the importance of Vitamin D in cancer prevention (sunlight or artificial light in tanning beds can boost Vitamin D levels). Many dermatologists, however, warn that its safer to get the vitamin through diet rather than tanning because of the connection between excessive sun exposure and skin cancer.

Frederick is devoted enough to the cause that she’s already lined up next year’s bikini parade — although it won’t be in Madison Lake.

“We’ve been invited to Eagle Lake to march next year in their Tater Days parade,” Frederick said.

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