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Vacation in Austin this summer

Because we still have a lot of great summertime fun planned, I wanted to update you about all the wonderful things you can do with your upcoming days off. There is no need to leave our beautiful city when you are searching for those fun and entertaining things to do as a family or group of friends.

Just this weekend, there are two special events that you won't want to miss. Both are scheduled for today:

The Spamtastic Grand Opening Expansion Celebration to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Spam brand and tour of the new expansion to the Corporate Office take place this afternoon and evening. There will be an evening performance by Motown legends, The Temptations. This event will take place outside, between the Corporate Office North and R&D buildings.

The schedule: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Expansion open to the public; opening acts Kinney/Nelson act, Austin Big Band, and Second Edition. 6 p.m. Comments from Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive office at Hormel Foods. 6:15 p.m. to  7:45 p.m. The Temptations.

Parking will be at the Oak Park Mall, and buses will provide transportation to and from the celebration location. Limited seating available on a first-come basis after 4 p.m.€¨Â€¨


Solafide Observatory is open to the public at 9 p.m. Keith Snyder and other enthusiastic volunteers are at the observatory to assist the public in viewing the heavenly bodies. For more information and observatory location directions, call 437-7519 or 440-1244.۬

Next week, there are many events on the agenda as well:

• July 31 to Aug. 4: €¨Summerset Theatre will present "Cash on Delivery!" by Michael Cooney at Frank W. Bridges Theatre on the campus of Riverland Community College. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. This play is recommended for the entire family. $12 adults/$8 students 16 and under. Call 433-0595.€¨Â€¨

• Aug. 2:€¨Ann Zimmerman returns to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Ann's concerts tell stories and paint portraits, and back her rich voice with piano, guitar and the audience itself. Summer Senior Special Concert at 9 a.m. Family/Children's Concert at 1:30 p.m. The evening concert is set for 7 p.m. All three concerts are free. Please RSVP by Aug. 1 to 437-7519 or jchnatur@smig.net.

• €¨Â€¨Aug. 3:€¨Y Family Fun Night from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Food is served at 6 p.m. Free to Y members, $15 for non-member families. 433-1804.

• €¨Â€¨Aug. 3:€¨Seibel Center Presents "Sweets and Sounds." The Seibel Center is offering a night of musical performances showcasing local artists and decadent desserts. This will be held at the Paramount Theatre , 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free. Door prizes will be given out throughout the night. 434-0934.€¨Â€¨

• Aug. 4€¨:Free Tours of the Mayo Medical Mobile Research Unit at Bandshell Park, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Research Vehicle includes two exam rooms, equipment for lab tests, laboratory, and more.€¨Â€¨

• Aug. 4-5:€¨Annual Mower County Relay for Life. This fundraising walk for cancer research takes place at Veterans Pavilion/Bandshell Park and starts at 3 p.m. The opening ceremony at 6 p.m., luminaria ceremony at dusk, closing ceremony on Sunday at 6 a.m. There will be entertainment, food, and kids games. Call Linda Baier 440-1024 for more information.


• Aug. 7-12: The 128th Annual Mower County Free Fair. Includes livestock shows, free stage entertainment, grandstand shows, arts/crafts/horticulture, carnival rides, and of course, fair foods. Get the fair's daily schedule at www.mowercountyfair.com .

Aug. 30: The Hormel Institute, 801 16th Ave. N.E., hosts its final summer open house of the medical/cancer research center, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to all the events listed above, don't forget to take a spin on the Spamtown Belle, Austin's own paddlewheeler, on East Side Lake.

Have you taken time to see the amazing "Ghost Towns" display at the Mower County Historical Society yet? This is well worth a special trip out to the fairgrounds during the open hours of MCHS. Be sure you check it out during fair week, when all MCHS buildings will be open special hours. From Tuesday to Saturday, you can tour until 8 p.m. that week, and until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Ride the bike trails in our city or take a walk around the Hormel Nature Center's many trails! Take a cool dip in the Austin Municipal swimming pool downtown. Stop by for a family picnic at one of our 29 local parks! Take in a race at Chateau Raceway....it may have been a long time since you have done that, and it's always a fun time! Take in a sporting event since Austin is fortunate to have several outstanding sports complexes. We have a full statuary tour itinerary listed in our current Visitors Guides, and if you are a local resident, there's a pretty good chance that you aren't even aware of them all. Last but not least, make sure that while you are being a "tourist in your own town" this summer that you include another visit to the Spam Museum!

Contact the Austin CVB at (507) 437-4563 for details on any of the activities that I've just mentioned. You can also check out our website , email us at visitor@austinmn.com or check out our official FaceBook page, too.۬

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