Celebrating more visitors; Downtown businesses prepare for extra traffic

Published 10:50 am Thursday, July 28, 2016

With 10,000 to 15,000 visitors expected for Hormel’s 125th anniversary celebration this Friday in downtown Austin, area businesses are getting ready to serve the masses and offer special deals this Friday.

“Everybody’s really excited about the 125th anniversary,” said Austin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Forstner. “There’s going to be a lot of people downtown.”

Hormel’s celebration will be from 3 until 10 p.m. downtown on the green space north of the Mower County Jail and Justice Center, 201 Second Avenue Northeast.

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To serve the additional visitors, restaurants like Tendermaid, Piggy Blues, and B&J Bar and Grill will dish up food in a different manner than usual.

Tendermaid will close the interior of its shop and serve loose-meat burgers through the window of the building. Staff will also have a tent in the parking lot to sell Hormel hot dogs, chips and malts. The restaurant will also open early and stay open until after the fireworks at the end of the night.

“We’re so excited,” said Tendermaid co-owner Sara White. “[The event] is going to bring amazing business to our community.”

B&J Bar and Grill plans to serve grilled Spam sandwiches and burgers outside and to set up tables in the parking lot.

“It’s going to be a great event for Austin,” B&J manager Shelley LeTendre said. “I don’t think anyone can fathom how many people [will be downtown].”

Piggy Blues will have its food vendor truck open for business in front of the Spam Museum. The business will serve up Hormel pork-stuffed baked potatoes, nachos and pork sandwiches, among other things. Piggy Blues owner Josh Diaz knows it’ll be a busy day, but he’s excited for the event.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of people downtown looking to eat, shop and have a good time,” Diaz said.

The Veterans of Foreign War club will host a parking lot party starting at 2 p.m., featuring Hormel stadium hot dogs and cold beverages.

On the shopping side of festivities, Twice is Nice and Hallmark plan to have sales in their stores.

“All the excitement downtown, it will be just great,” Twice is Nice owner Sandra Bell said.

The Friday celebration officially kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the grand opening of the Spam Museum.

“The Spam Museum grand opening caps the week in a great way,” Forstner said.