Among Louisville’s many quirky distinctions is a maker of the world’s disco balls. Hometown company Omega National Products reportedly makes some 90 percent of the mirror-coated orbs. Now, according to Insider Louisville’s Melissa Chipman, Louisville could also be home to the world’s largest disco ball.
Chipman reveals that England’s Isle of Wight currently houses the world’s largest disco ball at 33 feet in diameter, so this effort is no small feat. A group calling themselves “World’s Largest Disco Ball, Y’all” hopes to set a new record that can’t be beat—a 67-foot-diameter disco ball—and is planning a fundraiser at Headliner’s Music Hall on Saturday, August 15 to help build the enormous sphere, and, you know, “get the ball rolling.”
The group answered a few of Chipman’s questions about their project over email, and you can read the entire interview on Insider Louisville.
According to Disco Ball, Y’all’s interview:
There is a 16-member board that represents a cross-section of professional skills from construction, engineering, legal, business development, nonprofit development, IT, graphic design, and marketing. The committee formally began meeting on this topic in early 2015 and received initial startup funds and administrative support from the local property management company Alltrade Service Solutions…In addition to Alltrade Service Solutions and Headliners, early support has been garnered from River City Networks and Production Simple. The Louisville Downtown Partnership will be serving as our fiscal agent.
Alltrade is the same company developing a new building on Baxter Avenue and renovating a building at Broadway and Barret Avenue.
The group said weight will be the biggest engineering challenge for the 67-foot whopper. Before undertaking that feat, however, they are first building “Kentucky’s Largest Disco Ball” at 11 feet in diameter to test out how such a large object could be fabricated, help determine a budget for the larger version, and generate interest in the project. That ball is expected to cost about $10,000.
It’s too early to say where the ball might end up, the group told Chipman, but they added, “We definitely think the ball would have economic development potential wherever it lands, both from the perspective of tourism and regional branding.” They also listed some of the ideas they’re throwing around:
Our preference is definitely downtown Louisville for the unveiling, but there’s a lot of great spots to consider for permanent display, including the thriving West End, the Mega Cavern, Funtown Mountain — we would even be open to unveiling it at Forecastle and sending it on the festival circuit with AC Entertainment.
Might we offer a humble suggestion? With such a large diameter—67 feet, or almost 7 stories tall—the disco ball could make an ideal observation tower from which to view the city and the Ohio River. Riffing on a giant pin proposed by architect Bjarke Ingels for Phoenix, here’s one idea for the tower planted alongside the Belvedere. Besides creating an active use for people to walk up to the river overlook, the public space could also double as an impromptu dance floor beneath the ball.
If you’d like to support the project, head on over to World’s Largest Disco Ball, Y’all website.
[Editor’s Note: Top image of a large disco ball in Toronto by Jackman Chiu / Flickr.]