MERRIMACK — Two groups attempted to break a few Christmas-themed Guinness world records Saturday night.
While the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack succeeded in contributing to a new multi-venue record for the most couples kissing under mistletoe, the Litchfield community came up short in its quest to gather the most people dressed as Christmas elves.
About 380 people gathered outside the brewery and waited in frigid 18-degree temperatures for about two hours, often with a beer in one hand and a plastic mistletoe sprig in the other.
Though 250 couples had pre-registered as of last Tuesday, only 192 showed up. Couples wore numbered bibs and every group of 50 was corralled into a cordon around a Christmas tree.
Anheuser-Busch was going for two records; the most couples kissing under a mistletoe in a single location at its St. Louis, Mo., brewery, and the most couples kissing simultaneously at multiple venues.
Merrimack, St. Louis and Fort Collins, Colo., were all synchronizing their efforts to break the multi-venue record. As a result, the kiss scheduled for 7 p.m. ended up happening at 8 p.m.
Each contestant had to remain standing, the 5.91-inch-long mistletoe had to be held over their head the whole time, and they had to remain lip-locked for at least five seconds.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, my wife won’t kiss me for that long,’” said Anheuser-Busch head of beer category and community Kathryn Sattler, the event organizer.
Sattler said this is the fourth year the Merrimack brewery has hosted its Brewery Lights festivities and they wanted to do something special to go along with it.
The couples came from all over southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Donna and Michael Lahey of Manchester have been married for 35 years. Ellen DiMarzo of Wayland, Mass., and Jared Brown of Framingham, Mass., have been dating for two years.
DiMarzo said she thought it would be a romantic evening.
“I love coming to the brewery — any excuse,” she said.
Patrick Flaven of Nashua used the occasion to propose to his girlfriend, Luciana Echavarria, also of Nashua.
The three breweries needed to beat the previous record of 839 couples.
The official Guinness World Record adjudicators — there was one at each location — and stewards assisting with the monitoring counted 896 couples kissing, a new record.
St. Louis, the largest of the three breweries, needed more than 448 couples kissing to beat the single-site record. It had 480.
Brewery Lights festivities in Merrimack are held every Thursday through Sunday from now through Dec. 29.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Merrimack River, people gathered at Darrah Pond for the second annual Christmas at Litchfield Tree Lighting Celebration.
They were also going for a Guinness World Record, attempting to gather the most Christmas elves in one place.
People needed to wear a pointy hat with pointy ears and wear either a red or green shirt. The town’s police chief, Joseph O’Brion, and Selectman Steve Webber volunteered to keep count of the elves, who registered as they arrived.
Event organizer Margaret Almeida said the town’s police and fire departments, local Lions Club and high school student groups all pitched in to organize the event.
“We have an amazing team of complete volunteers doing this,” Almeida said.
The idea for beating the elf record came to her by way of Christie McQuesten of McQuesten Farm.
The record of 1,763 elves was held by a community in Thailand. Ultimately, Litchfield only counted 476 qualifying elves Saturday night.
“Cold weather kept a lot of families at home,” Webber said.