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Darwin prepares for twinetastic celebration
Aug. 3, 2018

Ivan Raconteur

DARWIN, MN – Things in Darwin heat up in August with the 27th annual Twine Ball Day celebration, set for 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.

This tiny town loves its big ball of twine, and a lot of people from far and wide adopt the community during the event.

“Everyone’s from Darwin on Twine Ball Day,” Mayor Josh Johnson commented.

The world’s largest ball of twine made by one person attracts visitors every day, but on Twine Ball Day, the town really fills up, Johnson noted.

He said the twine ball’s popularity never seems to fade, and it may actually be increasing as the result of social media and newspaper stories about the attraction.

One of the highlights of the celebration is the parade, which starts at 12:30 p.m. and features local royalty, area floats, antique cars, tractors, horses, and much more.

The parade is so much fun, a lot of the units go around twice, Johnson said.

The Minn-e Rods also attract a big crowd, he noted.

A full day of activities is planned to make the day memorable.

The schedule of events includes:

• 7:30 a.m. Twine-K run. Runners register by 7:15 a.m. Register online at www.tempotickets.com/TwineK2018

• 8 a.m. sand volleyball tournament

• rummage sale St. John’s Catholic Church basement 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 9 a.m. craft fair and collectables

• 9:30 a.m. Lions Club beer garden, root beer, brats, and burgers

• 10 a.m. kids’ pedal tractor pull – registration starts at 9:30 a.m. This is for fun, not a sanctioned event.

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Darwin Pictorial Museum (at the twine ball)

• 12:30 p.m. parade

• 2 p.m. bean bag tournament sponsored by Golden Fleece Lodge #89 in the park basketball court. $45 /team. Email pre-registration is at goldenfleecelodge.89@gmail.com

• 2:30 p.m. Minnesota Minn-e Rods

• 4 to 7 p.m. BBQ chicken dinner. $9/plate, includes chicken, potato salad, baked beans, roll, and beverage.

• 7 to 11 p.m. live music in the park featuring October Sun.

Food stands and an American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education (ABATE) tent will be on the grounds all day.

The mythical man behind the twine ball

The Darwin Twine Ball holds the record for being the world’s largest ball of twine crafted by one person, Francis A. Johnson.

According to RoadSide America, Johnson began winding the ball of twine in his basement in 1950.

Johnson reportedly rolled twine for four hours a day, every day until 1979.

He eventually moved the twine ball onto his front lawn, and used railroad jacks to ensure proper wrapping.

When Johnson quit rolling in 1979, his masterpiece weighed almost 9 tons and was 12 feet wide.

Johnson’s twine ball, and many related items and tools, may be viewed at the Darwin Pictorial Museum, located directly behind the iconic sphere on Main Street.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Twine Ball Day, and natives note this is a wonderful place to meet up with former classmates and friends.

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