WILLIAMSTOWN - The 69th annual Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department's Ice Cream Social got off to a soggy start Friday evening in Tomlinson Park.
"It seems to rain every year, but we won't ever change it because people count on us to do this the same time every year," said fire Chief J.L. Dean.
Because the social has always been held on the third Friday of July, Williamstown High School graduating classes holding reunions traditionally do them the same weekend.
Bill Murphy, right, and Jack and Nancy Jones, all of Williamstown, hold umbrellas over themselves against the rain during the 69th annual Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department’s Ice Cream Social Friday evening in Tomlinson Park. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Chris Clare, a Williamstown volunteer firefighter, places a fresh scoop of ice cream on a plate of cake during the ice cream social. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
J.J. Dimit, 6, of Williamstown eats ice cream and cake at the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department’s Ice Cream Social Friday while huddled under a shelter and wearing a rain jacket. (Photo by?Jolene Craig)
"So, of course, we've got some pretty dedicated people," Dean said.
Three of those dedicated ice cream social attendees were Bill Murphy and Jack and Nancy Jones, who huddled under umbrellas at the condiments table to prepare their hot dogs the way they liked.
"We support the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department rain or shine," said Nancy Jones.
"I come every year and would never think of staying home just because it is raining," Murphy said.
Despite the rain, many people huddled under umbrellas, rain jackets and trees to stay dry as they waited for hot dogs to be cooked and ice cream to be scooped.
Dean said the firefighters and other volunteers hoped to dish out more than 135 gallons of vanilla ice cream, along with hot dogs, chips, popcorn and homemade cakes and pies. The dozens of cakes and pies for sale were donated by members of the community.
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 and as much was expected to be raised this year.
"We make sure every penny we get through the social goes back to the community," said Dean.
While some money is raised from the sale of the ice cream and food, Dean 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 us a check as a donation as they are paying for their hot dog and pie and many just stop by the station and help out."