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Holly Johnson: Celebrating a famous birthday

Dec. 4, 2020, would have been George A. Hormel’s 160th birthday.

In 1940, he celebrated his 80th at his Los Angeles home surrounded by family and friends. The table was laid for an intimate dinner and the LA Times wrote that he was in “robust health.”

GAH 80th birthday dinner table. Photo provided

One of these days we’re going to throw him a birthday party in spirit, but it won’t be this year. Under the latest order of Gov. Tim Walz, the Hormel Historic Home, as a museum and place of public accommodation, is mandated to be closed to the public through Dec. 18, 2020.

Not only would we celebrate George at this time of year, but we would also be celebrating the holiday spirit by showing off his beautifully decorated and festive home.  We were fortunate to have had one day of open house events, and we are hopeful that we can open later in the month (or in January) so you, too, can enjoy the décor.

In the meantime, as we did with the first closure in March, our team has brainstormed ways to keep ourselves and you engaged in history. In partnership with the Mower County Historical Society we will be resurrecting Hump Day History on Wednesdays at noon on Facebook Live. Tune in as we visit area attractions and talk about both old and new holiday traditions. As in the past, you will be able to view the segments on the Hormel Historic Home YouTube channel if you miss the live version.

We’ve had to postpone our typical History Happy Hour event for December, but you are invited to join us on Facebook at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11 and 18, for virtual happy hours. These segments will feature glimpses of the lovely décor and a guest bartender who will help get us in the holiday mood. We are also producing a video tour with the decorating team who makes the home magical every holiday season.

What hasn’t changed is that we still have great gift ideas for you. Our office will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for you to stop in and grab a book, t-shirt, or C.D. Or we can arrange for a pick up time beyond those hours. You can also shop our retail store online at our website www.hormelhistorichome.org.

Gift Ideas

• “The Open Road,” Autobiography of George A. Hormel, $21.95/$27.95

• Architectural Treasures Keepsake Booklet, $12

• A Fine Home on Water Street Book, $10

• It All Started With Sausage T-shirt, $15

• Hormel Family Band CD, $14

• HHH note cards or postcards, $1 each

If you can’t come to the HHH to celebrate, we’ll bring the celebration to you.

Upcoming events

Hump Day History: The Nativity House

Noon, Wednesday, Dec. 9

Free on Facebook Live

Virtual Holiday Happy Hour: Featuring the B & J Bar and Grill

5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11

Free on Facebook Live at 5 p.m.