Crowd has larger role in contest

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 1, 2015

At our recent History Happy Hour event, people heard stories about how Prohibition affected our region.

Presenter Dean Ulland explained how Mower County voted to become a “dry” county in 1915 which led to 25 saloons closing down on Jan. 1, 1916.  However, he said Steele County remained “wet” allowing Mower County residents close proximity to legal operations. At this time it was still legal to possess alcohol, but it was not available for sale in the county. That changed four years later when the 18th Amendment went into effect on Jan. 20, 1920 and made the production, transport, and sale of alcohol illegal in all 50 states.

Because the 21st Amendment of 1933 repealed the 18th Amendment, the Hormel Historic Home was recently able to host the 4th Annual Best of the Bartenders contest on Oct. 21. With over 100 people in attendance judging the skills and creativity of three area bartenders, the event proved to be a fun night out in Austin for only $5. Competing in friendly competition were Shelley LeTendre of the B&J, Sarah Srsen of Sweet’s Hotel in Leroy, and Carrie Braaten representing the Hormel Historic Home. Both LeTendre and Braaten were first-time competitors but have extensive bartending experience. The 2015 event marked Srsen’s 4th time competing and 2nd time being selected as the winner.

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The crowd had a larger role this year as they were invited to vote for their favorite cocktail in three categories in addition to voting for their favorite overall barkeep. Srsen had a great night and won in the Bloody Mary, Martini, and Signature Drink categories. Guests enjoyed appetizers from The B & J Bar and Grill. In his third appearance at this event, JT Thompson entertained with his southern style country rock.

Some of you may remember when Geordie Hormel operated the King’s Wood Hotel. In a Jan. 5, 1959 article in the Austin Daily Herald, Mr. Hormel gave the following description of the social atmosphere at the hotel’s Game Room Lounge.

“The famous Geordie Hormel Trio entertains in the Game Room Lounge five nights a week.  You don’t have to have dinner at King’s Wood to be able to visit the Game Room Lounge.  You’ll find the Game Room is a wonderfully different and comfortable room. It’s a great spot to meet your friends and relax. Skilled and courteous attendants are prepared to mix your favorite beverage.”

It seems we are continuing the tradition of hosting social events with music and beverages that at least one Hormel family member would have appreciated.

Hearth & Home Series-Eating Healthy Through the Holiday

10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3, free

Presented by Emily Schmidt, Mayo Clinic Dietician

Emily will discuss strategies for navigating the holiday season while maintaining your health and weight.

 Holiday Card Party

Noon to 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19

All area card groups are invited to visit the HHH for a day of food and fun. Tour the home elaborately decorated for the holidays and have lunch served by the Y’s Women. Stay for the card game of your choice. $10 per person