Ripley’s celebrates with real steel

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 02:03 PM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH —  More than 20 sword swallows will occur simultaneously at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums worldwide on Feb. 23 in celebration of the sixth annual World Sword Swallowers Day.

“If it’s a nice sunny day, it will be outside in the parking lot,” said Sterling Scott, general manager of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Front Beach Road.

Sword swallowers have continued to be a part of Ripley’s since the 1933 performance at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium at Chicago World’s Fair. This will be the first time Ripley’s beach location will be participating in World Sword Swallowers Day, founded by the Sword Swallowers Association International in 2001.

Female sword swallower Patricia Forrest of Huntsville, Ala., will headline the free show.

 “I’m a dancer,” said Forrest, 28. “I do ballet, so when I do the performance at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, I will be swallowing a sword en pointe. I’m the only person in the world who does it.”

The show will start at 2 p.m. with an official swallow at 2:23:13 p.m. to coincide with the date.

“The one I will be swallowing for the World Sword Swallowers Day is 20 inches,” said Forrest, who also owns a 24-inch sword. “In order to be a member of Sword Swallowers Association International, it has to be (at least) 15 inches.”

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