World's Largest Popcorn Ball
Holding the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Popcorn Ball for the past 20 years just wasn't good enough. When our 5,000 pound record setter was trumped by the Indiana State Fair, discussion began on bringing the title back to Iowa. After all this was our idea - back in 1995 - to create a monster popcorn ball (2,225 pounds) to celebrate the popcorn industry in Sac County.
Discussion was held on how to preserve another monster so time wouldn't deteriorate it. We approached Lundell Plastics in Odebolt, Iowa to see if they could help us with a mold to shape the ball from the bottom up. After all they had the engineer on staff and we knew their company was where "Innovation Takes Shape." They sure didn't let us down.
The bowl shaped mold is amazing. Built of strong plastic and weighing about 2,000 pounds itself, it easily "cradles" the new ball. The size of the bowl is 12' in diameter so the goal for our new ball became closer to 10,000 pounds of hot, sticky popcorn.
We enlisted the assistance of Evapco in Lake View, Iowa. They built a skid to hold the mold and the popcorn ball. Volunteers from Quality Farm Drainage Solutions and Wirtjers Trucking loaded and hauled all of this to the Noble Popcorn Plant in Sac City on Thursday June 16, 2016 where the staging area for the creation of the ball took place.
The recipe consisted of 2,300 pounds of popcorn, 2,500 pounds of dry syrup mix and 4,900 pounds of sugar with just enough lecithin additive to make it stick. Naturally ingredients were adjusted to create the best consistency for the popcorn ball.
The Sac City Museum created a new structure to house the new popcorn ball. This structure has windows on three sides of the building, making it easy to capture that perfect memory with a photo or selfie.
World's Largest Popcorn Ball T-shirts are available at various locations throughout the community.
Making of the Popcorn Ball
It's was a great day to celebrate Popcorn in Sac County on Saturday June 18, 2016. Workers from Noble Popcorn reported to work by 5 a.m. (some as early as 3:30 a.m.) to fire up the poppers and cookers to make the 60 pound batches! The first batch of hot sticky popcorn was dumped into the mold at 6:48 a.m. Hundreds of volunteers of all ages came out to help create the new popcorn ball, many climbed the six foot ladder next to the mold to get their chance at stomping down the hot kernels. At one point the conveyor broke and volunteers helped dump popcorn by bucket full until the conveyor was fixed. We were lucky to have clouds until mid afternoon because the 40 foot tarp that was to shield volunteers from the sun was ripped down the night before by high winds. June 18, 2016 was chosen the winter before by using the Farmer’s Almanac. We quickly learned you can’t depend on Iowa’s weather when we had a few sprinkles of rain late afternoon. Under the full moon at 11:27 p.m., 16 hours and 39 minutes later, the last load of hot popcorn was dumped into the mold. It was a long but successful day.
The Iowa State Patrol’s Motor Vehicle Department arrived to weigh the new World’s Largest Popcorn Ball at 10:30 a.m. Monday June 20, 2016. At 11:15 a.m. we were given the official weight by Officer Jeffrey Hansen, a total of 9,370 pounds!
Sac City has officially beat the old record and is once again the World Record holder of the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball!
For a time lapsed video of creating the popcorn ball visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMKNzD-ve_M.