July 30, 2007

Twine Ball spectators come from near and far

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

People come near and far to see the world’s largest ball of twine made by one man in the small city of Darwin.

“There are two things that draw people to Minnesota. One is the Mall of America and the other is the Ball of Twine,” said Roger Werner, director of the Twine Ball Museum.

Recently, the Franck family from Texas and Nebraska rerouted their camping trip around the Twine Ball.

They aren’t the only ones. Past visitors have come from as far away as Egypt. They had seen an advertisement for Twine Ball on the television.

A family from England came to Minnesota to see three things, the Mall of America, the Twins, and the twine ball.

“People do plan their trips around the Twine Ball,” Werner said.

The Twine Ball was completed in 1990 by Francis Johnson, son of the US congressman Magnus Johnson.

Johnson wound his first piece of baler twine in March 1950. He died in 1989, and the following year, the Ball of Twine was moved to its current location on Darwin’s main street, Highway 14 south.

At first there was some confusion about where the ball should go. Ripley’s Believe or Not wanted it at its museum in Branson, Mo., and the Darwin Community Club wanted to take responsibility for it.

Johnson wanted to keep it in Meeker County, if at all possible, along with other items in his collection, according to Werner.

A year after the Twine Ball was moved into town, annual Twine Ball Day celebration was born. The celebration takes place the second Saturday in August and is accompanied by a parade, a BBQ pork chop dinner, music in the park, and much more.

Although the Twine Ball may be the biggest attraction in the small town, there are several other contributing factors to the city’s rich history and these can also be seen at the Twine Ball Museum.

Once the town’s old train depot, the building is now the home of the museum and holds many of the town’s artifacts, including models of the old Darwin Farmer’s Elevator and the old Darwin school, Independent School District 42.

For those interested in learning more of the town’s history, the Twine Ball Museum features artifacts from the old schoolhouse that once sat across the street, hometown inventors and their creative inventions, books from Darwin author, Christine Paul, a “most valuable player” trophy for Darwin’s own professional baseball player, Milt Goemer, and much more.

The museum is open from mid-April to early November from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum asks all visitors to sign the guest book. Visit the web site at www.twineballmuseum.com.

Twine Ball Day is Saturday, Aug. 11

Spend the day in Darwin enjoying food and entertainment at the 16th annual Darwin Twine Ball Celebration Saturday, Aug. 11. All events take place on Main Street, Highway 14 south in Darwin, as well as in Schoolhouse park. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Darwin Tourism and Promotional Fund.

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