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The World's Largest Popcorn Ball - Take 3

Fun loving people from Sac City, Sac County, the State of Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota gathered at Noble Popcorn on February 28, 2009 to construct the World's Largest Popcorn Ball. Two Hundred thirty volunteers, five staff members of Noble Popcorn Farms and numerous cheerleaders built a popcorn ball that weighed 5,000 pounds to promote popcorn and to create a tourism attraction for the community. The ball surpasses the old Guinness Book of World Records of 3,415 pounds.

This is Sac County's third World's Largest Popcorn Ball. In April of 1995, they built a 2,225-pound popcorn ball to secure the title with Guinness- later to be outdone by the Boy Scouts in September of that same year. Some time later an Illinois based Popcorn Factory built a 3415 pound ball which held the record until this ball was built. In August of 1997, the one ton + Sac City ball met its demise as it was blown up at the Sac County Fair. The second culinary delight was housed in its own building near the city's museum complex, creating an attraction for everyone to enjoy as they passed by on U.S. Hwy. 20. Its final demise is yet to be determined. The current record holding giant is housed in the same, although enlarged, building on Highway 20.



This wild idea to promote one of Sac County's oldest products - popcorn - and to re-create a massive ball became a culinary, mathematical and laborious challenge. The recipe was perfected and prototypes built. And then the fun began at the Noble Popcorn plant in Sac City! Since the plant is famous for its Cedar Creek flavored popcorn, it seemed the perfect setting for a task such as this. At 7 a.m., the first group of rubber gloved clad volunteers began the task of melting the sugar and syrup, popping the corn and packing the steamy popcorn mixture into a round egg like shape. Twelve hours and forty minutes after the first batch was cooked, exhausted volunteers and staff celebrated their success with a massive ball weighing 5,000 pounds and standing over 8 feet tall. The ball also measures 28.8 feet in circumference.



Dan Martin, Plant Manager at Noble Popcorn, reported that the group used 900 lbs. of popcorn, 2700 lbs. of sugar, and 1400 lbs. of dry syrup mixed with water. They punched, packed and carved the ball into shape, all the while getting stickier and sticker. Among the many volunteers, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey helped construct the popcorn ball. Secretary Northey spent over two hours working with the hot sticky popcorn substance and joining in the spirit of the day.



"It was a jubilant crowd when the final weight was announced at the end of the day, we met this challenge head on and succeeded," said Shirley Phillips, Director of Sac Economic & Tourism Development. Many of the volunteers were tired and covered from head to toe with the sticky substance, but posed for pictures with the huge popcorn ball at the end of the day.



To qualify for the Guinness book, Agricultural Secretary Bill Northey will verify the recipe and certify that the popcorn ball was edible, members of the Iowa DOT vehicle enforcement unit weighed the ball and will verify the actual ending weight, a video recording was made and many photographs were taken. These were sent to the Guinness Book of World Records office in England for recognition.