First Family Fun Day slated for Saturday

Six Austin area attractions hold special events this weekend for the first-ever Austin Family Fun Day.

The Mower County Historical Society, Hormel Institute, Hormel Historic Home and Paramount Theatre will hold special weekend hours, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday for the public to take tours; the SPAM Museum will be open free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, serving samples from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center holds its free Summer Solstice “EcoBlitz” from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

The events are being organized by executive director of the Mower County Historical Society Dustin Heckman, who was inspired by a similar annual affair in Little Falls, Minn.

“Most attractions will be open special weekend hours, so that people who can’t otherwise visit can check out what these places have to offer,” he said. “It’s a ‘thank you’ to the community.”

The Little Falls event is in its seventh year, and about 1,800 visitors were counted at each attraction last year, Heckman said. In its first year, they hosted about 200 visitor’s per attraction, he added.

“We’re hoping it grows like that here too, and each year the attractions can offer more activities.”

Activities vary at each site Saturday. The Paramount Theatre will offer tours and free popcorn; the historical society and the Hormel Historic Home will have self-guided tours and staff on hand to answer questions.

The Hormel Institute will have an experiment session, a “cancer preventive foods” display, a merchandise table and host guided tours.

The EcoBlitz, which has a morning and an afternoon session, is the only event which requires pre-registration; register by calling Larry Dolphin or Julie Champlin at 437-7519.