Twins fans trying to get their hands on the Star Tribune’s new Homer Hanky should have better luck Saturday, when a fresh supply of the red “Bomba Szn” towels is expected to arrive in the Twin Cities.
John Killen, president and CEO of WinCraft Inc. in Winona, said Friday that he will personally drive a 26-foot truck loaded with Homer Hankies to Minneapolis on Saturday morning.
WinCraft produces licensed gear for all of North America’s major sports leagues, as well as for more than 700 colleges and universities. The company has produced all of the Homer Hankies made since they first appeared in 1987 during the Twins’ run to a World Series championship.
“The demand is outpacing expectations. It’s been euphoric,” Killen said. More than 200,000 Hankies already have been produced, he said. The Hankies are made at three of the company’s four Winona plants, and workers are putting in overtime to keep up with demand, he added.
Also on Friday, the Twins revealed that the team will give a Homer Hanky to every fan at every Target Field game through the end of the American League Championship Series. Previously, the team had announced a Hanky giveaway only for Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees.
Hankies are sold at the Twins gift shop and by the other Homer Hanky sponsors, the Star Tribune and Cub Foods. Each of the three Hanky sponsors orders its own supplies separately. They sell for $3 each.
A steady stream of fans left the Twins store at Target Field on Friday afternoon carrying bags of 10 Hankies, the maximum purchase allowed.
Cub Foods expects to restock supplies of Hankies in its 79 Minnesota stores on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, a company spokesman said. Meanwhile, the Star Tribune has taken orders at startribune.com/HomerHanky from 34 states, said Steve Yaeger, the company’s vice president and chief marketing officer.
“This is the 33rd year of the Homer Hanky,” Yaeger said Friday. “We have some experience with fan interest around this, but it’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
“It’s been fun, fun, fun,” Killen said. “It’s back-to-back-to-back phone calls, e-mails, people running in with samples, ideas, truck deliveries.
“There’s fans all over the country that have been contacting us.”
This year’s Homer Hanky is produced using a terry cloth material that’s thicker than the thin, bandanna material used in the past. In industry lingo, it’s a “sport rally towel.”
“It’s so fun to be a Minnesotan and see the pride for the team,” Killen said, repeatedly putting an interviewer on hold to take other calls.
“And for the people that manufacture it, it’s fun to see the excitement for the team.”