Ice cream socials: It’s Oak Grove’s turn

As tradition, history and weather dictates, summertime is the season for ice cream socials.

Community members all over the county have spent the last several weekends gathering at their local ice cream social events and this weekend is Oak Grove’s turn.

The Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department has hosted Oak Grove’s annual ice cream social since 1958-two years after the fire department was opened.

According to Bonnie Berry, the Oak Grove squad chief, the social is known in the community for its amazing barbecue chicken, which is grilled on site.

“The food is amazing,” she said. “You can’t beat it in the area.”

Other food available at the social will include potato salad, baked beans, hot dogs, sloppy joes, ice cream and cookies galore, plus anything else that the community donates.

This is Berry’s fifth year of working with the social and her fourth year with the fire department, where she started out as its first paramedic.

Berry coordinated the country store for the social, which will have items such as bikes, tool kits, a grill, a television, toys, various types of gift cards and much more.

“The donors for the country store have always been excellent, so our country store is always excellent,” she said.

Along with the country store, the social will include five inflatables, a 50/50 drawing, tractor rides, games for children such as a duck pond, fishing and miniature golf, live bluegrass entertainment and a helicopter demonstration provided by Air Evac.

“We have plenty to keep everybody entertained,” said Berry.

Berry’s husband John is a volunteer firefighter, EMT and safety officer at the fire department. He has helped with the social since he joined the department in 2006.

“We receive a lot of support from Oak Grove and the Mid-Ohio Valley as a whole,” said John Berry. “Everybody comes from around the area to enjoy this social. We really do strive to make this better every year.”

Muskingum Township Trustee Gary Doan is an associate member of the fire department and has volunteered at the social for the last several years. During the last four years he has used his tractor to pull children in the miniature train carts.

“It’s about seeing the people you don’t see everyday,” said Doan. “You talk to your friends and your fellow community people.”

His wife, Karen, is a first responder at the fire department and assists with recruiting volunteers for the social.

This year’s ice cream social is a special one for the fire department, which will be debuting its new ambulance vehicle.

“The fire department is extremely excited and gracious for the ambulance,” said Berry, who has been heavily involved in the process of obtaining the ambulance for the last two years and refers to it as her “baby.” The department was able to acquire the ambulance due to its levy passing.

The ambulance is currently being decaled by Putnam Auto Sales and will be finished and present on the day of the social.

All of the proceeds from the social go to the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department’s general use account, which funds essential equipment for the department as well as next year’s social.

The fire department is currently asking for donations of pies, cakes or baked goods for the social. Any donations made cannot be cream desserts due to health department regulations.

Other donations are also welcomed and encouraged. They can be taken to the fire department in the evenings between 6:30 and 9 p.m. and the day of the social.