Revving up the party

Published 6:39 am Monday, July 25, 2016

Editor’s note: An extended version of this story appeared in the Hormel 125th special section that published on July 14.

It’s party time for Hormel Foods Corp.

Austin festivities for Hormel’s 125th anniversary and Spam Museum grand opening kicked off Saturday with the 5K Your Way and will cap on July 29 with a community celebration featuring The Band Perry.

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“With the grand opening event and a block party culminating with the festival concert that night, it should be just a great day for the whole family,” Hormel CEO and Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Ettinger said.

“It’s really going to be quite the week,” he added.

Here are highlights of what’s coming with Hormel’s celebration:

A bit of history

The Hormel Historic Home, 208 Fourth Ave. NW, will hold free tours of the Hormel family’s historic dwelling from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 24.

The event will also feature a free concert by Going to the Sun at 6:30 p.m.

Spam on the Silver Screen

Before showtime on July 29, The Historic Paramount Theatre, 125 Fourth Ave. NE, will host the Hormel Foods Film Fest from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26 and 27, and from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday.

The film will showcase different advertising and marketing materials from the company’s various brands, many of which have never been viewed in Austin.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to run a lot of different type of media over the years,” said Jaynee Sherman, a senior brand manager with Spam international and 125th committee member. “Not all of it has been seen in Austin, and a lot of it now is via social [media]. So this is an opportunity to put what we’ve done over the years in the community eye.”

Mason described it as a fun opportunity to learn more about Hormel’s brands.

It’ll feature things like Driven By Bacon, which was a piece highlighting a bacon-fueled motorcycle being driven across the country.

The film will be about an hour and half of continuous advertisements, and people can come and go as they please.

Refreshments will be for sale at the film festival.

A grand opening

Austin’s new Spam Museum serves up a trip around the globe, a look back at Spam in World War II, the history of Austin’s largest company, examples of how the famed canned meat is made, and plenty of fun to share — both in person and on social media.

Hormel’s new Spam Museum opened at 101 Third Ave. NE in April with several fun exhibits to explore and history to soak in: Can Central, World Market, Supporting Our Troops, Spam Brand 101, 1891 and Beyond, Spam Brand Today, Hormel Foods Today and brand shop, and the Kids Play Area.

But to kickoff the big day July 29, Hormel will kickoff with a ribbon cutting for the museum from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

The Band Perry

Festivities on July 29 will run from 3 to a little past 10 p.m. with free live entertainment on three stages and many activities.

“That Friday is going to be the big day,” Ettinger said. “Obviously, the museum has already been open for a bit, getting just excellent reports in terms of how people are enjoying the museum and it does seem to add foot traffic and excitement to that part of Main Street.”

Along with Grammy-award-winning entertainment like The Band Perry, the community celebration will feature food and activities for the whole family. They’ll also have the Spamerican Tour truck along with other food trucks.

Emcee John Cosgrove, Band 125, chef Sunny Anderson, Kat Perkins and The Band Perry are all set to grace the main stage.

Austin native Molly Kate Kestner will return to the community stage at 6:30 p.m. Others on the community stage include TC Road Crew, The Magic of Adam Perry, The Bazillions and the Mariachi Aguilas de Ellis Middle School will play on the community stage.

Shapeshift, Band 125 and Salsa Del Soul will play on a side stage.

The Band Perry, set to play at 8:30 p.m., is made up of Kimberly Perry and her younger brothers, Reid and Neil. The group has released hit singles like “If I Die Young,” “You Lie” and “All Your Life.” They’ve taken home trophies at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Awards, and they’ve also received Grammy and Billboard Music Award nominations, along with several other nominations.

Hormel last brought in The Temptations to perform for the Spam’s 75th anniversary in 2012. But while The Temptations appealed to an older generation, company leaders like Thomas Day expect The Band Perry to appeal to a variety of age groups, not just older or younger generations.

“I think this group cuts across and that’s one of the reasons that they were selected,” said Day, the efrigerated Foods Group vice president and chairman of the 125th committee.

Austin High School graduate Molly Kate Kestner returns to town to perform at 6:30 p.m. on the community stage. She found fame in 2014 when her song “His Daughter” went viral on Youtube, and she’s continuing after her musical dreams.

Kat Perkins will play at 7:25 p.m. on the main stage. Born in North Dakota, Perkins is now a Minneapolis-based musician who appeared on season six of “The Voice,” where she reached the semifinals before eventually being eliminated.

After The Band Perry, the night will close with fireworks around 10 p.m. over mill pond.

“We’ll end with the fireworks that are always a hit,” Day said. “I don’t care if you’re nine or 90, they’re a lot of fun.”


The concert venue and celebration venue was picked because it’s close enough to showcase the Spam Museum and to benefit downtown businesses.

“That’s really why our community event is downtown, because of the Spam Museum,” Sherman said.

Sherman promised the museum will be open throughout the weekend for people to walk through, along with “Spamples” available at the site.

Ettinger called the staging arrangement unique, adding it may be the first and only staging arrangement to have a main stage behind the Mower County Jail and Justice Center facing north going down and into the park along Mill Pond.

“That whole open area’s going to be utilized, and I think it’ll just make for a fantastic event,” Ettinger said.

Then when the concert is done, there will be fireworks.

“It should be a great night — weather willing,” Ettinger said.

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