HHH continues a holiday tradition

Published 8:02 am Sunday, November 16, 2014

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Hormel Historic Home. Gradually, trees — 27 of them of various shapes, sizes and flocking — are coming down from the attic and up from the basement, and their branches await trimming as we prepare for our annual Christmas Open House.

Our team of dedicated decorators is busily working to transform the Hormel Historic Home into a Christmas showcase. The open house tradition started in November 1988, under the direction of Evie Mohrfeld and her own devoted team of volunteers.

A glimpse of the decorations visitors will see. Photo provided

A glimpse of the decorations visitors will see. Photo provided

The first event was called “Christmas Fantasy at the Hormel Historic Home” and was held on Nov. 19 and 20, 1988. A Friday night preview party was held for participating businesses, board members and their spouses.

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According to the YWCA minutes dated Feb. 6, 1989 the profits from the event were significant enough for the board to decide to use the money “to redecorate the SW bedroom and the upstairs bathroom.” It was also noted in the minutes that a second Christmas Fantasy would be held in November 1989. A solid tradition had begun that would help preserve the HHH for future visitors.

As I read through the minutes of each November following the first Christmas Open House I continued to see the commitment of volunteers and a plan for each year’s profit. Members of the board planned table decorations, yard adornments, and garland placements that would be appealing throughout the season.

Sixty years before the first Holiday Open House, the Austin Daily Herald described the creative decorations used to make the holidays come alive at the YWCA from 1929-1931. I especially like one dated Dec. 23, 1931: “The house has been festive with holly decorations and colored lights have gleamed amidst the greenery on fireplace mantles and gayly decorated Christmas trees.”

The articles also made mention of refreshments being served and of a variety of music performers that entertained at events.

Celebrating the holidays with decorations, food, and music has been the tradition at this fine home since the time of the YWCA and probably before, when the Cooks and Hormels lived here. Decorating and opening one’s home to guests is customary during the holidays and that is exactly what we want to do at the HHH again this year. We hope you will visit on Nov. 21 or 22 for the tea or on the 22 for the Murder Mystery Dinner and enjoy a holiday tradition that lives on.

Social Concerns: The Wartime Kitchen-Rationing during the World Wars

10 a.m. – 11 a.m., Nov. 18

Free event presented by Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society. Coffee and snack included.

Please call 507-433-4243 to reserve a spot.

Holiday Open House and Tea

1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Nov. 21-22

The HHH holiday tradition continues and you won’t want to miss it. Tour the 1871 home fully decorated for Christmas and enjoy a traditional tea menu. Musical entertainment will be featured in different parts of the home throughout the event.

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or in advance at www.hormelhistorichome.org.

 Murder Mystery Dinner

5:30 to 9 p.m., Nov. 22

Join us for a night of suspense as the 17th St. Players perform “Marley’s Dead, Ain’t That The Dickens.” A three-course meal will be served by Signature’s of Northwood. Arrive at 5:30 p.m. to tour the HHH fully decorated for Christmas. It’s magical in the evening light. Dinner and show will start at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 per person, available at www.hormelhistorichome.org or by calling 507-433-4243. RSVP by Nov. 17.