Museum reaches out with ice cream social

Farm Forum

Event organizers at the Dacotah Prairie Museum couldn’t have asked for a better day to host their Old Time Music and Ice Cream Social on Sunday at the Granary Rural Cultural Center.

“We thought, ‘What did people used to do 100, 130 years ago when the pioneers were here on a Sunday afternoon?’” said Lora Schaunaman, program director for the Granary and curator of exhibits for the Dacotah Prairie Museum. “Well, they probably played some music and listened to it — it would have to be live, of course — they might have made some ice cream, if they had ice still by July in their ice house, or had watermelon, which, would of course, grow around here.”

The sun was shining and high temperatures were in the low 90s, but the ice cream was cold and there were plenty of shady, breezy places for the dozens of visitors to park their lawn chairs. It was National Ice Cream Day to boot.

Sofia Losure was manning the hand-cranked ice cream maker, which belonged to her mother, Heidi Marttila-Losure, who received it as a wedding gift — a family tradition on her husband’s side.

“At least once a year, because we do it for my brother’s birthday,” Losure said of her family’s ice cream making habits. “This year we did it for July fourth — we did it for July fourth last year too, didn’t we.”

“It makes an event out of it, you know,” Marttila-Losure said. “As opposed to just having ice cream.”

The ice cream was made from a simple recipe, containing milk, sugar, half-and-half, cream and vanilla for flavor, Marttila-Losure said.

In addition to the ice cream, watermelon and lemonade, there were a lot of games to play, like giant checker boards, oversized dominos and regular-sized croquet, which could be enjoyed while the bands played.

The fun at Sunday’s event was evident in the lack of technology use, Schaunaman said.

“We never say, ‘Don’t bring your cellphones,’ but no one ever is using them,” Schaunaman said. “It’s amazing that you don’t feel pressured with that kind of thing when you’re outside — it’s a nice summer day and there’s no distractions here.”

The Dacotah Prairie Museum staff are planning events each month at the Granary Rural Cultural Center throughout the summer, Schaunaman said.

The August event will be an art camp for children, and the September event, the Living History Fall Festival, will be even bigger than the ice cream social, Schaunaman said.

“It’s kind of like a re-enactment,” Schaunaman said of the Sept. 12 event. “We’ll also be having music with that one, and we’ll also be having food with that one.”

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Upcoming Granary Rural Cultural Center event

What: Living History Fall Festival

When: Sept. 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Why: Celebrate the autumn season and see history come to life. The event will feature re-enactors, demonstrations, folk artists, live music, children’s activities and more. Concessions will be available on site.

Admission: Freewill donation

For more information: 605-715-7117 or 605-626-7117