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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Hormel president presents SPAM to Yeltsin, 1992
Hormel President Richard Knowlton presents a can of SPAM to Soviet President Boris Yeltsin, 1992.

Spam Festival

Austin is the home of the Hormel Company's plant that produces SPAM, a canned meat product well known to Americans. SPAM has been a lifeline to Americans during difficult times and helped to celebrate the best of times. Created in 1937, SPAM is celebrated as part of the SPAM JAM, a Fourth of July celebration in Austin, for about 50 years. In the late 1930s, SPAM luncheon meat commercials were aired on the "Burns and Allen Show" featuring George Burns and Gracie Allen, Artie Shaw and his orchestra and SPAMMY, a miniature pig and the group's mascot. In 1991, Hormel Foods established the First Century Museum on the occasion of its 100th anniversary; the exhibit of SPAM memorabilia quickly became and remains the most popular. To enter the museum, visitors walk through a giant replica of a SPAM luncheon meat can.

The popularity of SPAM continues. In the United States alone, 3.6 cans of SPAM are consumed every second, making it the unrivaled number one product in its category. Outside the United States, the largest consumers are South Korea and Great Britain, and, on the island of Guam, over eight cans of SPAM are consumed by every person each year.

The project includes a videotape of highlights from the 1999 SPAM JAM, another video on SPAM production, a 7-page report and 30 photographs documenting the history of SPAM, the "authorized biography of SPAM," a "Spamtastic gift catalog," newsletter of the Official SPAM Fan Club, and a copy of The Hormel Legacy: 100 Years of Quality.

Originally submitted by: Gil Gutknecht, Representative (1st District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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