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A Ball of Twine in Kansas

By Linda Tancs

Cawker City, Kansas, is a quintessential small town at just one square mile and less than 1,000 residents. That might sound a bit sleepy, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s because the unassuming little town lays claim to hosting the world’s largest ball of twine. As recently as 2018, the ball weighed in at 20,511 pounds! It’s composed of sisal twine, a thread made from the fibrous agave plant, typically used to keep small bales of hay together. That’s the use to which local farmer Frank Stoeber put it. He started rolling his abundance of excess twine in 1953. By 1961, his ball had become a local tourist attraction. It’s been added to continuously—first by Frank, then his neighbors, and ultimately, by visitors who are provided pre-measured and weighed twine. That tradition continues to this day, especially during Twine-a-Thon, a festival on the third weekend each August. You’ll find the ball as you enter Cawker City from U.S. Highway 24.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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