If you've always wanted to be a superhero, mark July 18 on your calender.
That's when an unusual nonprofit is sponsoring an equally unusual event, namely an attempt to set a world record for the largest number of people wearing superhero capes.
If all goes as planned, more than 1,800 people will head to the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove starting at 5 p.m. Free, new capes will be provided for folks who don't happen to have any in their closets.
The superheroes can grab some food, listen to music, and brace for the world record count at 7:30 p.m.
"We have a slogan, 'If you help someone in need, you're a superhero,' " said Mick Sterling, a Twin Cities musician who dreamed up the idea. "I wanted to create an event that families could do together, and that was fun."
The event is free, but heroes with a philanthropic bent can purchase blue wrist bands to support the 30-Day Foundation, a nonprofit started by Sterling that helps folks facing financial emergencies such as an overdue rent payment or car repair bill.
It's also is a fundraiser for the C.R.O.S.S. Food Shelf, which serves northwest Hennepin County suburbs.
Sterling is doing more than organizing the event. He's the lead singer in the band, the Irresistibles, that will be performing.
The musician created his foundation in 2011 after seeing friends affected by the ripple effect of a few unpaid bills.
Without money to repair a car, a job can be lost. Without a month's rent, the family's home can be in jeopardy.
People facing such a crisis can apply online to the foundation, which does not send them money, but pays an emergency bill directly.
To date, the world record for cape-wearers is 1,800 people, said Sterling. To help beat the record, Sterling has 3,000 newly ordered capes to give away, thanks to donations from UPS, Whole Foods and the Shoppes of Arbor Lakes.
"Everything is covered," said Sterling, "so all donations will go to people in need."