On May 6, 2009, the largest party ever, celebrating a tunnel, will be held in Folkestone, England in honor of the Channel Tunnel's 15th anniversary. Still the world's longest tunnel beneath a body of water, the Chunnel connects Great Britain to mainland Europe, which is why many in Britain also refer to the passage as the Continent Connector.
"There are still so many things that need to be completed before the big day," said Megan Worthington, Chunnel marketing manager responsible for the British half of the anniversary celebration. "There's tea to be made, crumpets to be heated and rain to be expected."
English footballer David Beckham will make an appearance to dribble a commemorative soccer ball half the length of the 30-mile tunnel then passing off to former French footballer Zinedine Zidane. The two will have a commemorative handshake and commemorative headbutt before the French star continues the dribble into France.
"We still don't have the Chunnel logos imprinted on the balls," said Worthington, who took this task on personally. "If you want something done right ..."
In addition to athletes partaking, actors Jude Law, Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet will perform a short play depicting the history and importance of the tunnel to Britain and northern France.
Arts and crafts makers from all over the United Kingdom will sell their wares at a carnival set up at the entrance of the Chunnel, which, incidentally, will be closed to rail travel for the entire day.
"I've spent the last year making these," said Laura Chaucer, pointing to a large pile of 'Chunnel' leg warmers and oversized wrist bands depicting one of the seven wonders of the world. "It's like putting your leg or arm right into the Chunnel."
There will also be a potato sack race that runs the length of the tunnel, a 30+ mile hop to France. French officials said they expect each race participant to pass through customs at the halfway point.
The How Many People Can Fit In the Chunnel stunt still does not have a moderator as claustrophobia has frightened most potential hosts away.
Planners are crossing their fingers that Jude Law and company remember their lines, Laura's leg warmers stay dry and potato sack hoppers remember their passports.
"I think we'll be ready," said Worthington. "I'm just going a little bit mental right now because it's the 15th anniversary of the Continent Connector. I totally feel for the person in charge of the French tribute to the tunnel."