WILLIAMSTOWN - The threat of rain left the Mid-Ohio Valley and more than 1,000 people filled Tomlinson Park Friday evening for the 66th annual Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department Ice Cream Social.
"I expect to see gobs of people here," said fire Chief Joe Ruf. "We are very lucky the weather worked out so fine. I was worried all day."
The social has always been a homecoming for the community and those who grew up there.
JOLENE CRAIG Special to the Times
Danner Hooper, 4, of Williamstown watches as his mother, Michelle Hooper, puts ketchup on his hot dog Friday at the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department Ice Cream Social.
"There are always classes from Williamstown High School having their reunion at the same time as the social, and we have a lot of families have get-togethers this weekend," Ruf said.
Dave Masten, with the WHS class of 1965, said his group gets together every five years and always during the same weekend as the social.
"We always start the reunion on Friday night at the social where we have dinner and ice cream and go from there with the rest of the weekend," he said.
Masten said it is a WHS tradition to have class reunions at the social and pointed to the class of 1960, which was gathered not far away in the park.
"All of us have a banner with our class year on it and set up tables and chairs," he said. "We have our reunions during the ice cream social because people know when it is and can schedule their plans."
Ruf said the firefighters and other volunteers expected to dish out more than 135 gallons of vanilla ice cream with hot dogs, chips and popcorn, as well as homemade cakes and pies donated by community members.
"We have a lot of ice cream and a lot of other desserts to sell," Ruf said.
The ice cream social is the largest fundraiser for the more-than-100-year-old department. Money from the event will help the department purchase equipment and upgrade programs.
Last year's social brought in between $7,000 and $8,000.
"Every penny we get goes to help the community," Ruf said.
While some money is raised from the sale of ice cream and food, Ruf said the majority comes from donations.
"People don't always come to the social for the ice cream," he said. "A lot of times people will come and give me a check as a donation as they are paying for their hot dog and pie."