Holidays at Home: Hormel Historic Home to kick off slate of festive fun events

Published 7:14 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

With Halloween now over, the holiday season is ramping up in Austin and there are fewer places in Austin that boast more of an array of holiday offerings than the Hormel Historic Home.

With a rich tradition dating deep in Austin’s history, the HHH has a knack for putting its best foot forward when it comes to holiday programming.

“The holidays were very important to the Hormel family,” said Executive Director Cindy Meany. “They were very Christian people, aside from the home being so beautiful. It really pays homage to the Hormel family and how they felt about the Christmas season.”

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Lavishly decorated, the home often will bring people in just to tour the inside of the mansion, but the shows offered add that extra touch.

Not only that, there are opportunities for everyone to get in on the act.

“We have some family stuff, we have some funny stuff, more traditional things,” said Amanda Barber, the HHH’s operation manager. “But we also add things to the events year to year. Different things that we kind of like to add.”

Some of those new things are simple elements that add that extra spark, but others come in the form of brand new events like Candlelight, Cocktails & Caroling event on Nov. 20, that will put the home into a complete Christmas ambiance experience with only Christmas lights and some lamps used to set the tone for the evening.

There will also be carolers and hors d’oeuvres further augmenting the mood.

Also new this year, the HHH has devoted the atrium to Austin High School’s Packer Pantry, allowing people to donate personal care items throughout the season. Decked in red and white, with some green elements, it’s a further effort to pair with entities within the community.

While all of the events are fundraisers raising money for the upkeep and programming of the HHH, “it doesn’t stop us from giving back to the community either,” Meany said.

The HHH goes through extraordinary efforts to produce its holiday programming, but staff also enjoy the idea of opening up the home to public.

For Meany, it’s the act of invitation that helps make the holidays what they are.

“Proud. We’re just beaming with pride when people come to see our home,” she said. “People are usually in awe when they walk in through the door.”

Meany encourages the importance of looking ahead when it comes to holiday programming by visiting their website and social media platforms. People are required to reserve tickets ahead of time by visiting https://www.hormelhistorichome.org/calendar–tickets.html, but they will also get information about what’s happening with each event as well as finding out whether or not events are sold out.

Below is a rundown of the HHH’s holiday event schedule.

Holiday Card Party & Luncheon

Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.

to 4 p.m.

This traditional event kicks off the slate of holiday programs at the HHH and will include a variety of card games along with a luncheon, beverages and dessert.

“It’s just a really relaxing day,” Meany said. “They would actually be the first people to get a glimpse of the Hormel Home in its Christmas attire.”

Tickets are $15 and seating is limited. Ticket purchase required by 4 p.m. Nov. 15.

Holiday Open House & Happy Hour

Nov. 17, 1-6 p.m.

Another tradition that’s taken shape over the years is the Holiday Open House & Happy Hour, which opens up the home to people to stroll through and see how each room is decorated. The AHS Austinaires will be performing and three pianists will take turns playing the grand piano throughout the event adding further ambiance to the day.

Desserts will be served up and a limited bar will be available. Tickets are $10. While it’s preferred that people buy tickets in advance, this is the one event where people can pay at the door.

Snacks & Santa

Nov. 18, 11:30 a.m.

and 1:30 p.m.

The first programming for the kids and the family, this popular good time has three showings, though the 9:30 a.m. show is sold out. Tickets are $7 with those 2 and under getting in free, however, they will still need to be issued a ticket to keep track of guest count. Families will enjoy a snack and hot chocolate. Check on this one soon and often as it’s expected to sell out quickly.

Candlelight, Cocktails & Caroling

Nov. 20, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

New this year, this show will show off the Christmas splendor of the home  with lighting provided almost solely by Christmas lights with some additional lamps.

“It’s a fancy event,” Meany said. “Butlered hor d’oeuvres and everybody gets a complimentary drink with that.”

Tickets are $18 and there will be a full bar if people wish to buy additional beverages.

Laverne & Lucy Holiday Dinner Show

Dec. 8, 4:30-8 p.m.

This show was held for the first time last year and by all accounts, it was a hit.

“The people who attended last year had such a fantastic time,” Meany said. “There was so much laughter in the room. People were in tears, it was so funny.”

Cost for this show is $45 per person and includes a cocktail hour from 4:30-5:30 p.m. along with opportunities to view the home. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Classic Country Christmas Dinner Show featuring 507 Country

Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m.

The HHH will be the site of 507 Country’s only holiday show, featuring a guest appearance by fiddle player Brian Christianson, who recently returned to Austin with his family after time spent in Nashville where he played at the Grand Ole Opry.

“We feel really privileged to have them,” Meany said.

Tickets are $67 per person and include a choice of three meals. A cocktail hour will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. as the show gets underway. The program will also feature choir teacher Kalle Akkerman and the Austinaires playing music during the cocktail hour.

The Roaring Twenties Ringing in the New Year Party

Jan. 6, 7-11 p.m.

Even though New Year’s Eve will have come and gone, the party is still on with this special event that will transform the HHH into a speakeasy.

Music will be played by the Austin Big Band and people are encouraged to dress up in 1920s attire for the occasion. If you don’t have anything, the Matchbox Children’s Theatre is offering costume rental for the occasion. Akkerman will also be performing jazz music on the piano. Hor d’oeuvres will be offered from 7-9 p.m. and Jane Taylor Dance Academy will be teaching dance moves from the era.

Tickets are $40 per person.

Aside from these events, people should keep in mind that tours for $5 are also still available, though check with the HHH because some events may get in the way of offering tours.

For more information, visit: www.hormelhistorichome.org

Help create a memory

In her day, Lillian Hormel, the wife of George A. Hormel, was a staunch advocate for the YWCA. When she realized that she would be having no more children, Lillian did whatever she could do to support girls.

In the spirit of that support, the Hormel Historic Home is sponsoring Nominate a Child, which will take place throughout the holiday season. People can go to the HHH website and nominate a girl, kindergarten through fifth grade, who has been through a challenging experience.

“Something life-impacting,” Executive Director Cindy Meany said.

Once nominated, a committee will read through the submissions and the winner will be given a Little Lillian Tea Party.

For more information and to nominate a little girl, visit: https://www.flipcause.com/hosted_widget/event_step2/MTk4NTM1/239066