For the first few months of my new life in Valparaiso I had no idea who Orville Redenbacher was. It wasn’t until my parents came to stay and we visited Orville’s statue in downtown Valpo that my mom reminded me of the significance of Mr. Redenbacher. He’s the popcorn guy! Suddenly the annual Popcorn Fest that I attended in Valpo over the summer made sense.
Most are familiar with the Gourmet Popping Corn for which Orville is famous. However, what many people don’t know is that Orville was born in Brazil, that is Brazil, IN, situated 55 miles west of Indianapolis. Growing up on his father’s farm Orville developed an interest in popcorn from a young age. He attended Purdue University where he became fascinated by hybrid experimentation and his dream of a popcorn empire was born. This is also where he met his partner, Charlie Bowman. Today Orville remains a local celebrity in Valparaiso and visitors can snap a photo with him in the Central Park Plaza.