ALEXANDRIA, Ind. (Oct. 12, 2015)-- Who knew that the tiny town of Alexandria is home to a big attraction that draws in visitors from all over the world?
A painter by trade, Mike Carmichael turned an accident decades ago into a Guinness world record. He is the man behind the world's largest ball of paint.
The two-and-a-half ton ball hangs in a shed next to Carmichael's Madison County home and around 1,200 people from near and far come out to see it every year.
"I don’t know if you know Tom Green up there. He was here once," Carmichael said as he pointed to a picture of the celebrity painting a coat on the giant ball.
So what exactly is a ball of paint?
“When I was in high school another guy and I were on the baseball team. We was horsing around with a baseball like most kids do. We accidentally knocked over some paint with a ball and that ball got into that paint. We didn’t know what to do with it so I wrapped a wire around it and I just started dipping it, and painting it, and dipping it, and painting it. But I kept records of it and I put exactly a thousand layers on it.”
That was his first go at it. The second try is what has garnered him international attention.
When Carmichael became a dad, he wanted to share something special with his son. In 1977, he had his three-year-old brush on the first coat to his second ball of paint.
“After 38 years you see that we’ve got 24,700 layers of paint on it," said Carmichael.
Now he has visitors paint their own art onto the ball and then paint over it to leave it ready for the next curious soul.
Does he think he's weird? Yes. But he also thinks it's more than just a ball of paint: it's a wondrous ball of memories. And it's also proof that even the odd balls can teach you something special.
“No matter what you want to do, it has some type of a meaning.”
If you want to see the world's largest ball of paint, you can make an appointment by calling (765) 724-4088.