Sac County residents ended a sticky situation last weekend by reclaiming their world record for the largest popcorn ball in history.
An army of volunteers worked from 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. to construct the nine-foot-tall ball at the Noble Popcorn plant Saturday, with youngsters at times perching on the shoulders of the adults to add handfuls of popcorn to the top of the monster.
Sac City, with its reputation as "Popcorn Capitol of the World," had first set the record in 1995 with a 2,225-pound ball made in preparation for an agricultural show being planned. A Boy Scout project stole the title by producing a 3,000-pound ball, while Sac City eventually dynamited its specimen to bits as entertainment for the county fair. During the 2004 city Sesquicentennial, Sac City produced a 3,100-pound ball. Next, Lake Forest, Illinois captured the record with a 3,423-pounder in 2006.
The Sac volunteers started out with 1,500 pounds of popcorn (enough to fill 10,000 of the Noble company's large bags) and 2,500 pounds of syrup in 70 batches. "We wanted to make one large enough so that no one will dare to challenge the record again," says Shirley Phillips, local economic development leader and one of the instigators of the effort.
Even Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey donned a pair of rubber gloves to get in on the sticky fun. He took it upon himself to ensure that the record-setting creation was in fact edible.
"It's not Super Glue and plastic," he confirmed.
When Sac City first popped up with the idea for such a record, officials at the Guinness Book of World Records had never heard of a popcorn ball, she said.
Temporary scales set up under the ball read 5,460 pounds - with the weight of the pallet below subtracted, on Monday the creation was officially verified on the Iowa DOT certified scales as just over 5,000 pounds.