canned meatSpamtown USA is the nickname given to Austin, Minnesota, a town full of spirit and community pride.  Austin acquired its name from one of its original settlers, Austin Nichols.  This town is home to the Hormel Foods Corporation, the maker of the world’s supply of Spam, as well as a variety of other products. 

Spam, once touted as the miracle meat in a can, was developed in 1937.  This clever meat product did not need to be refrigerated and was created from a mixture of ham and pork that was chopped and flavored.  Unfortunately for its makers, competitors honed in on the market and presented fierce competition initially. 

The Hormel Company created a contest to come up with a catchy name for their product in an attempt to garner more of the canned meat market.  Obviously, the winning entry was “Spam” and the winner received one hundred dollars for the prize.  A singing commercial, one of the first, followed in 1940. 

From sponsoring popular radio shows to gimmicky tricks such as “Spammy the Pig,” Spam’s creators helped to ensure a major portion of the canned meat market by the time World War II began.  Spam became a staple, not only for the American forces, but also, for the Russian forces.

All of the corporate offices of the Hormel Foods Corporation, a Fortune 500 Company, are located right there is Austin along with its research division and flagship manufacturing plant.  A newly constructed museum, which opened in 2001, dedicated to Spam is also one of the town’s highlights.

The museum is located on Spam Boulevard and features a diverse assortment of interactive and educational games to its visitors.  A number of entertaining and informative videos are also presented on a regular basis. 

The exhibits are designed to be entertaining and include a great deal of fun for those who decide to view them.  One of the walls within the museum contains over three thousand cans of Spam.  Plus, the museum is open seven days a week with very few exceptions, mainly for holidays.

The annual Spamtown USA Festival includes a wide variety of activities including parades, watermelon eating contest, concerts, street dancing, fireworks, and canoe sprints.  This widely attended event occurs in mid June.

Other local festivals include the Mower County Festival that occurs every August and the Storytelling Festival that occurs in March.  Among the residents scattered throughout Austin’s past is a famous sportscaster, John Madden.