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Ice Cream and a Bonfire: WCHS Ice Cream Social is Jan. 19

On Saturday, Jan. 19 the Washington County Historical Society will hold an old-fashioned ice cream social at Mulberry Point in downtown Stillwater.

Ice cream in January? Yes!

On Saturday, Jan. 19 from noon to 4 p.m. the Washington County Historical Society will hold an old-fashioned ice cream social at Mulberry Point in downtown Stillwater.

The public is invited and encouraged to wear historic garb appropriate for the occasion.

“We might see some interesting lumberjack outfits that have been in the attic for decades,” Brent Peterson, executive director of the WCHS said. “We don’t expect too many vintage swimsuits, but you just never know.”

Peterson came up with the idea when he discovered some old photographs of past winter ice cream socials from the 1950s.

“When you see these old photos, everyone looks like they were having so much fun, despite the cold,” he said. “It was a true celebration of Minnesota winter, so we just decided to try it ourselves in the 21st century.”

Past to Present

Back in 1950, Stillwater businessman Gib Larson of Snowland Foods—as well as other business people—held the first winter ice cream social at the St. Croix Boom Site. Even though the temperatures were well below zero, more than 1,000 people came out and enjoyed the ice cream and the season.

The event was moved to Lowell Park the next year and later it moved to Lily Lake. It was sponsored at that time by the Jaycees and eventually faded away like winter into springtime.

“This event brings together our history and the community,” Peterson said. “What a great way to celebrate the place where we live, enjoy our neighbors, have fun with all the snow and eat ice cream to boot.”

The ice cream, cones and chili will be provided by Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop and the coffee from River Moon Coffee. This event is also sponsored by the Stillwater Convention & Visitors’ Bureau.

The ice cream and coffee is free; there will be a nominal charge for the chili.

There will be a bonfire going to keep the family warm; and if the weather is favorable, Aamodts will bring a hot air balloon and have it tethered for all to sneak a peek at the balloon.

The event is free to the public and donations to the Washington County Historical Society will be accepted. For more information please call the Historical Society at 651-439-5956 or visit www.wchsmn.org.

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