What better way to spend a hot August evening than enjoying live music, admiring vintage cars, and eating plenty of sweet, frozen ice cream?
Ice Cream on Pine returns for the third year on Saturday night. The annual dessert delight, hosted by Double Dip Gallery and the Lodi Historical Society, is a continuation of the ice cream social that the society held for 25 years at their former museum.
“It’s the third in collaboration with Tony (Segale),” said Mary Jane East of the Lodi Historical Society.
The society began hosting the fundraiser because ice cream socials were a big deal in Lodi’s past — and all over the United States.
The first ice cream social in what is now the U.S. was held before the American Revolution in 1744, when Maryland Gov. Thomas Bladen hosted a dinner party featuring ice cream. President Thomas Jefferson jumped on the trend and held an ice cream social in the White House in 1803.
The dessert-centered social events spread throughout the U.S. during the 1800s, especially after the Civil War, with churches and schools often playing host. Back then, ice cream was a lot more work, requiring people to hand-churn each flavor.
At Ice Cream on Pine, guests won’t have to work up a sweat to enjoy the summer treat — though they’re certainly welcome to dance along to music by the Royal-Barbershop Quartet directed by Nancy Hennefer or vocalist Frank Bernhoff, who will perform showtunes accompanied by Linda Parker on keyboard.
Instead, they can walk into Double Dip Gallery and buy a scoop or two chosen from a huge selection of flavors (including this month’s Peanut Butter Crunch) crafted by Gunther’s. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Lodi Historical Society’s programs.
One of the traditions of the annual event is a raffle. Society members and volunteers put together baskets loaded with gift cards, spa-themed items, pet accessories and more. This year, there will be a Mexican food-themed basket, along with lots of “terrific” restaurant gift certificates, East said.
But the centerpiece of the raffle for years has been the beautiful bird houses hand-crafted by Lodi resident Duane Reeves. He’s made one for every ice cream social for more than 15 years now.
They’re so well-made that people don’t want to put them outside, East said. Instead, they figure out a way to keep them in their homes, where they can be admired.
Guests will also be able to view some antique vehicles, gather around shaded tables to chat with friends, or find out how to join the Lodi Historical Society themselves.
Cyclists can even pre-burn some of those dessert calories by riding to the event, as Bike Lodi will be providing bike valet service.
The 200 block of Pine Street will be closed off for the ice cream social. While dessert and raffle entries cost money, admission is free, so organizers are hoping Lodians will turn out for an entertaining Saturday evening.
“It’s such hometown fun, it truly is,” East said.