Home for the holidaysPublished 6:01am Sunday, November 17, 2013
The spirit of the season will soon fill the Hormel Historic Home, as Holly Johnson is all too aware.
The HHH executive director has spent the past year helping organize a cherished Austin tradition: The Home’s annual Holiday Open House is in its 26th year, and a team of volunteers and contributors are ready to help the HHH bring a little Christmas cheer to residents come Nov. 22 and 23.
“It’s fantastic,” Johnson said.
Though this is her second year at the HHH, it’s Johnson’s first year getting ready for the Holiday Open House. It’s also the first year the home will have a unified theme to its decorations. In previous years, volunteers would decorate each room according to separate themes, but the home will focus entirely on Christmas this year.
“We’re trying to make it more of a decorated home, because that’s what it is,” Johnson said.
There are at least nine decorators working on each room, and volunteers are busy putting the home together in time for the Holiday Open House, with donated items from many area businesses.
The Holiday Open House will feature a little entertainment throughout its two days, as well. On Friday, Nov. 22, various artists including carolers from Riverland Community College, Peter Jacobs on piano, and more will be on hand to get people in the Christmas spirit. Jacobs returns with his brass quartet on Saturday, Nov. 23, along with the Austin High School Austinaires and the ladies musical group Second Edition to liven things up at the home. Gordy Handeland will also be in character as Charles Dickens on both days. There will be English Tea and snacks served as well.
Yet the HHH, long known as a tourism spot, is hoping to attract many area residents this year, according to Johnson. Though the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau has sold Holiday Open House tickets in places like Bloomington and Rochester, Johnson wants local residents to come enjoy a piece of Austin’s history this year.
“There’s a lot of people I hear from who tell me, ‘Oh, I’ve never been inside the Hormel Home,’” Johnson said. “We’d really like to invite the local people to come and view it in all of its holiday grandeur.”
The Holiday Open House takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23. Tickets are $15. For more information, call the HHH at (507)-433-4243 or visit www.hormelhistorichome.org.