INDIANAPOLIS — Every year, the Indiana State Fair has a
different theme. This year is the Year of Popcorn.
Indiana ranks as the second-largest producer of popcorn in
the U.S. To celebrate, a large popcorn ball was created to serve as the focal
point at this year’s fair.
The ball will be unveiled in the Agriculture Horticulture
building on Aug. 3.
The story behind the popcorn ball began in Topeka, home of
Snax in Pax. The small-town Indiana company has been popping popcorn for 20
When the education department of the Indiana State Fair
asked Snax in Pax to create the world’s largest popcorn ball, owner Will Huggins
was up for the challenge.
“It’s the centerpiece of the state fair, which makes it even
more exciting for us,” he said.
Huggins said that, initially, the plan was to create the
entire popcorn ball onsite in LaGrange County, but he felt like it would be a
better idea to construct half of it at the fair.
“Being from Indiana and having been in 4-H when I was a kid,
I felt it would be more beneficial for the fair itself if it was a community
effort kind of project,” he said. “I suggested we build a portion of it, and
they could use 4-H groups or volunteers to help create the remainder of the ball
The construction process for the first half of the ball took
less than 12 hours over the course of two days.
“Popcorn balls are basically just a lightly caramel-coated
ball of popcorn,” Huggins said. “We met with the Indiana State Fair folks and
Weaver and did some brainstorming on the best way to do this, and we come up
with the idea of having them build a large mold, which looks like a large wooden
cereal bowl, about four foot deep and eight foot across.”
The mold was filled with sticky caramel-coated popcorn to
provide a solid base for the remainder of the ball to be built onsite at the
The ball was loaded onto a semi and sent with the
ingredients to make the rest of the caramel popcorn for the project.
“The folks at the state fair are going to use the machinery
and the ingredients to make more syrup and double coat the already-made popcorn
we already sent and form the remainder of the ball by hand,” Huggins explained.
“When it’s all said and done, the goal is to weigh 5,200 pounds or
Sac City, Iowa, is home to the current world’s largest
popcorn ball, weighing in at 5,000 pounds.
While Huggins said the popcorn ball is edible, he doesn’t
recommend eating it because it will taste stale. After the fair is over, the
ball will be broken apart and fed to livestock.
“They are going to have students figure out nutritionally
how much of this thing the livestock can eat,” Huggins said. “How much sugar can
cows or pigs or whatever they feed it to have? They are using it as a big
display, but also for education.”
The popcorn ball will be used in other ways to teach
fairgoers about the scale of Indiana’s popcorn industry.
“What fairgoers will be able to do is calculate how many
ears went into making the popcorn ball and the retail price of it,” said
Stephanie DeCamp, education director of the Indiana State Fair. “Family of
Farmers is sponsoring the popcorn ball, so however many pounds it weighs, they
are donating that many meals.”
DeCamp said that interested farmers can sign up to pick up
the bakery byproduct after the fair, Aug. 20-21. To arrange a pickup, contact
DeCamp at (317) 927-7566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.