Indiana State Fair heralds in Year of Popcorn with big attraction

World's Largest Popcorn Ball to make its debut

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is the second-largest popcorn producer in the U.S. and it plays a major role in the popcorn profession. That’s why the Indiana State Fair has deemed this year’s festivities the Year of Popcorn.

Year of Popcorn features at the fair will include free popcorn for Farm Bureau Building visitors, a special essay contest for kids, a gift shop decorated with massive popcorn decorations and a giant popcorn ball.

Fair officials say, thanks to help from Pop Weaver, Snax in Pax and Indiana’s Family of Farmers, they plan to unveil the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball at 10 a.m. Aug. 3 in the Ball State Ag/Hort Building.

Construction has already begun on the humongous treat. In June, Snax in Pax Popcorn Company workers in Topeka, Ind., began making and tamping thousands of pounds of popcorn into a specially created wooden form measuring 8 feet across.

IMAGES | World’s Largest Popcorn Ball

The ball was later taken to the State Fairgrounds where State Fair staff, board members and volunteer groups kept adding on to the creation. The goal is a 5,200-pound popcorn ball that is slated to beat the current record holder, a 5,060-pound ball made by a group in Sac City, Iowa, in 2009.

Not only will the popcorn ball provide quite the sight, but it will be used in the fair’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education program, which teaches kids different concepts through exhibits and displays at the State Fair. The program was developed around seventh through 12th-grade learning standards and includes three other attractions in addition to the popcorn ball.

“Students – and the public – will be able to calculate how many ears of corn were used to make the popcorn ball and what portion of an acre was needed to grow that amount of corn,” State Fair Agriculture Education Specialist Stephanie DeCamp said.  “Those kinds of problems will incorporate agriculture into different subject areas making it fun for the kids while also supporting one of the fair’s main missions.”

Once the popcorn ball is unveiled, it will be on display till the end of the fair on Aug. 18. The Indiana Family of Farmers plans on using the ball for livestock feed once it’s deconstructed. The organization has also used the project as inspiration to donate 5,200 pounds of food to Hoosiers who need it.

Another popcorn attraction fair goers are sure to enjoy? The A-maize-ing Popcorn Adventure, a winding popcorn maze created by Purdue Extension that takes up most of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand Side Lot and offers visitors a fun way to learn about popcorn. The maze is open daily throughout the fair.

The State Fair runs from Aug. 2-18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, located at 1202 E. 38th St. in Indianapolis. Head to the fair’s website for more information on the State Fair.

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