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Patrons wait for their first cones of the season Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Spencer Crilow scoops ice cream while co-owner Vanessa Steffen tops off some hot fudge Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Spencer Crilow scoops a colorful pair of cones Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. Crilow has worked at The Chief for nine years through high school and college and now makes the shop’s award-winning ice cream. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

While Lowell Vanderveer helps a customer at the window and Spencer Crilow scoops ice cream Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season, and 20th season for Vanderveer and the shop’s three other owners. Crilow has worked at The Chief for nine years through high school and college and now makes ice cream at the shop, which was voted best in the state. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Eric Contreras, 13, and Angel Cazares, 13, enjoy their blue moon ice cream cones Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. "I didn't even come here at all last year," Cazares said. "But you came to my house the other night and ate two whole bowls of ice cream," Contreras jokingly added. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Ellie Sharkey reaches out to serve a two-scoop cone to Ronnie Dehoff, Shelby Choquette and Nevaeh Choquette, 2, on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Spencer Crilow scoops ice cream for customers Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. Crilow has worked at The Chief for nine years through high school and college and now makes the shop’s award-winning ice cream. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Jacob Murphy, 7, and his sister Megan, 9, enjoy lemon ice cream Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Lowell Vanderveer, co-owner of The Chief, serves ice cream to a steady stream of customers Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at The Chief in Goshen. The popular ice cream spot opened for its 51st season to long lines despite cloudy skies and temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees. “They’ll be waiting in line like this all night,” Vanderveer said. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)
Weather can’t dampen fans’ appetite for The Chief

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 17, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.

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.