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World’s Largest Ball of Paint is all about Indiana family

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. (WISH)– A family in Alexandria is leaving its mark on the world with the help of more than 28,000 people and counting.

Mike Carmichael has been working on the big ball of beauty for more than 40 years.

“This is what it started out as (a baseball) and this is what it is now. It weighs 9,210 pounds. When my boy turned 3 I let him paint the first layer on there.”

After his son applied the first coat, his family has spent day in and day out adding layer after layer. “My son and family still paint it. In fact, my wife’s only painted it about 8,000 times.”

They’ve had a lot of help over the years from anyone and everyone who happens to stop by and see the amazing acrylic attraction. “It’s been amazing, the amount of people that’s come here over the years. I get a lot of support out of it, I meet a lot of interesting people from everywhere.”

Carmichael says one visitor sticks out more than most. “It was when Dick Wolfsie, from Channel 8, came here and filmed it. He kept in touch with us, I had him paint the 20,000th layer.”

The ball of paint as grown quite a bit since then, but Carmichael says it’s hard to tell. “Since I see it every day it don’t seem like it’s growing.”

Every layer of paint added is another story for Carmichael to tell. “About a week an half ago, I had my first marriage in front of it, so that was a first.”

The layers are also a reminder of how his family has grown right alongside the World’s Largest Ball of Paint. “As my kids were growing up, and my grandkids are growing up, by the time they’re about 2 weeks old, I get a picture of them sitting on top of the ball, and I’ve done that with everybody in the family, all the kids, and, of course, their mothers are a little scared.”

Carmichael could have stopped a long time ago, after all he does it for free, and the likelihood of someone catching up at this point seems as far-fetched as the current ball itself, but he has no plans to quit.

“I could have stopped many years ago, but it’s just something I wanted to do and try.”

Plus, what would the grandkids do when they come over? “I try to keep it in the family to be fun.”