Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Through the years: Auxiliary of SWRMC’s Fourth of July Ice Cream Social

The Tradition Began in 1983!

The July 4th Ice Cream Social was started by the Auxiliary of Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center with a partnership with the College of William & Mary to hold it on the Wren Courtyard. It began with ladies in wide brim hats actually serving Ice Cream and cake on July 2nd and was changed to July 4th to enlarge its presence. The President of the college, Tom Graves, agreed to let the Auxiliary use the Wren Yard to serve the summertime treats.

His wife Zoe, offered to store the cakes in the basement of the President’s House. So the
tradition began. Our own Ginny Dittman brought the idea of the Ice Cream Social to the
Auxiliary involving all the other members.

Though the years, the event grew to be a highlight of the community and visitors were charmed to attend an” An Old Fashion Ice Cream Social”, which brought much success to the Auxiliary fundraising. It was not about how much we made, it was about a tradition to celebrate this profound holiday on July 4th of our Colonies becoming America. Families brought quilts to sit on for all ages and through all the years, the Smith-Wade Band was our performing group to entertain while the people enjoyed large slices of cake of their choice and two scoops of Ice Cream. Hot dogs were added along with sodas for sale, a Raffle and children’s games. There was something for all.

This tradition ended in 2014 as the unpredictable weather was a huge factor with the high heat and occasional storms.  Also the auxiliary members who ran the event were getting older and times were changing.  While it was successful for 31 years, all things in life have an ending. Memories of those good ole days are ours forever, the fun, the heat, the rain showers, the melting ice cream, the kids playing games and fabulous music. The famous print of “Awaiting the Ice Cream Social” was sold at Williamsburg’s 300th Anniversary by Donald Regan, Sec. of the Treasury under President Reagan. He signed every copy at the social.

What a keepsake!

Those memories will be with us forever as well as our gratitude to our members and Community for all their loyal work and support through the years.

Happy Birthday America and Happy July 4th

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Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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