GOSHEN Wednesday, April 17, was not a typical day for ice cream. Chilly, breezy and overcast don’t seem to be ideal conditions for enjoying the cold treat.
That didn’t faze the dedicated patrons who lined up in Goshen to get their first taste of The Chief this year.
“If you like ice cream, (the weather) doesn’t matter,” said Billi Rigsby while standing in line to order.
Wednesday marked the opening of the popular ice cream stand for the 51st year, and a handful of fans were already waiting in line by 3:45 p.m., prompting The Chief to open 15 minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. opening.
Co-owner Jan Vanderveer said the employees saw the lines forming and figured they may as well open to get the first customers through quickly.
Vanderveer and several customers noted the lines for the first day were a bit shorter than usual, but there was already a steady stream of patrons by 4 p.m. keeping the inside of the stand bustling.
Fans came from around the county for the chance to order their favorites for the first time in 2013.
Rigsby and her grandmother, Judith Walter, both of Goshen, have made showing up for the stand’s opening day a tradition. “We watch for the date,” Walter said.
“It’s the best,” she added.
Judy Zimmerman of Bristol and her daughter, Kaitlyn, have also turned The Chief’s opening day into an annual family outing.
“We’ve been coming since (Kaitlyn) was at West Goshen, so a long time,” Zimmerman said with a laugh.
The younger Zimmerman was anticipating ordering her favorite, Blue Moon and raspberry, while her mother hadn’t quite decided.
“Their turtles are wonderful, though,” Judy Zimmerman said.
Vanderveer cited The Chief’s product and service while discussing the reason opening day and the ice cream stand itself are so successful. “That’s why it’s a tradition in Goshen,” she added.
Vanderveer said The Chief will be open through August. The stand is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. while school is still in session, with closing time extending to 9:30 once school is out. The Chief opens at 2 p.m. Sundays.