Although the majority of the pop culture world knows him for his various parody songs—many of them related to, featuring, or just generally in close proximity to, food—die-hard fans know that “Weird Al” Yankovic has a wide and varied catalog of original songs in his back pocket. Among these—and ignoring explicit “style parodies” like all-time jam “Frank’s 2000" TV”—few are more celebrated than “The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota,” off of 1989's UHF. (And now we need to get this Newswire piece done quickly, because we’ve just put an “‘Albuquerque’-fan-shaped” target on all our backs.)
At nearly seven minutes in length, “Twine Ball” is one of Al’s longest songs, telling the intentionally meandering tale of one family’s efforts to stand before the world’s most significantly twine-based tourist trap (and its little pagoda, too). Along the way it immortalizes a whole bunch of other great “We’ve been driving for 8 hours, let’s get out and look at this Tupperware”-style attractions, and other delightful symptoms of road-trip-induced dementia. But while Yankovic’s song has undoubtedly sent hundreds, if not dozens, of his fans on their own pilgrimages to Darwin, Minnesota over the last 30 years, we’re happy to report that the love is very clearly mutual.
The above picture is Yankovic posing with a decent chunk of the 350-person population of Darwin, who gathered at the Minnesota State Fair this week (where Yankovic was performing a stop on his orchestrally-backed Strings Attached Tour) to give him some appreciation for all the attention and love over the years. (That’s not the real twine ball, by the way; the real one is 12-feet in diameter and weighs 8 tons.) Per The Minnesota Star, the town also recently renamed “an unmarked dirt roadway” near the ball “Weird Alley,” which is just delightful.
Anyway, a simple story of a man, a town, and the shared obsession with natural fibers that brought them together.