Hormel rings in holidaysPublished 10:22am Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Sarah Willrodt puts her imagination to work every year to design a festive, cheerful image that captures the holiday spirit. Now her creative touch will be featured on about 15,000 holiday cards, as she is the winner of Hormel’s seventh annual Holiday Card Contest.
“We love the personal touch of having the children of our employees being in the contest,” said Hormel President and CEO Jeff Ettinger, who chatted with Sarah Monday afternoon and congratulated her.
Sarah described her creation as evergreen trees colored like holiday giftwrapping paper, and cheerful people in the snow, draping a garland around a tree.
“I love Christmas and everything about it,” Willrodt said, who wished trees could be decorated in such ways in reality.
The contest blends some of Willrodt’s favorite things: art and Christmas spirit.
“It’s just kind of like a way to show your creativity — and especially, that I love Christmas — it’s the best way to show your creativity,” she said.
It has been nearly a year since Willrodt spent several hours creating the image, constructed from paper, colored pencil and yarn. Hormel Foods employees and artisans then gather and judge the submissions.
“I remember her working on this and spending a lot of time,” said Sarah’s mother, Sheri Willrodt, standing next to Sarah’s father, Mark Willrodt.
Each year, Hormel opens its contest to students K-12 who are children of Hormel employees. Sarah has entered the contest for as long as she can recall. However, her work has never been featured on the card. Sarah will receive a $500 scholarship to an institution of her choice for either art supplies or classes.
Runners up, eighth-grader Gabrielle Martinez of California and senior Elizabeth Sheldon of Austin High School, will receive $100 scholarships, along with their images displayed on half of the 30,000 total holiday cards.
All three images are enlarged and prominently displayed in the lobby of the Hormel corporate north building in Austin.