MARIETTA - With its annual all-you-can-eat ice cream extravaganza just around the corner, Broughton Foods is hoping to kick up support for a local youth sports organization this year.
At a press conference Wednesday, officials announced that Marietta Youth Soccer will be the beneficiary of the 31st annual Ice Cream Social to be held July 20 at the Washington County Fairground.
Each year, more than 700 children in the Mid-Ohio Valley - ranging from 4-year-olds to high school seniors - take part in the youth soccer organization, building confidence, friendship and athleticism, said group administrator Tara Meagle.
"It's fun for the kids. They all go to different schools so they get to meet new people. They get exercise," she said.
The group benefits from an expansive volunteer source. Around 500 families have children participating in soccer through the group.
Many other individuals who are no longer directly associated with the league still volunteer to coach, referee or assist where needed, because the organization had such a profound positive impact on them, Meagle said.
If You Go
* What: Broughton Food's 31st annual Ice Cream Social.
* When: from 2 to 5:30 p.m. July 20.
* Where: Washington County Fairgrounds.
* For: To support Marietta Youth Soccer.
* Tickets: $3.50 in advance at Peoples News, Broughton Foods and Apex Feed and Supply or $4 at the door.
Marietta resident Claire Schenkel, 10, has been playing soccer since she was 4. The opportunity to play soccer through Marietta Youth Soccer has given her the chance to make friends and have fun, she said.
"It's fun. It's pretty much the only sport I play. I see a lot of my friends," said Schenkel.
The soccer club owns and maintains the soccer fields in Devola, which are constantly in use. It's not uncommon to see children practicing or playing for fun on the fields on any given night, said Meagle.
The funds raised at this year's annual Ice Cream Social will go to upkeep and maintenance on those soccer facilities on River Road in Devola, she said.
Broughton's ice cream event has been one of the area's most widely anticipated events for the past 30 years. Starting with its funding support for new band uniforms at Marietta City Schools in 1984, the ice cream social has raised more than $500,000 and supported 40 organizations, said Broughton Foods General Manager David Broughton.
"It could never....be done without an incredible network of volunteers," he said.
In addition to more than 100 volunteers from Marietta Youth Soccer, many other individuals will help the day of the event. Local businesses have donated items for the event.
The J.M. Smucker Company will again donate toppings for an estimated 10,000 sundaes and the Marietta Brewing Company will be providing root beer for approximately 5,000 root beer floats, said Broughton.
Broughton encouraged attendees to bring a lawn chair to the event, which runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. July 20 at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Tickets for the social can be purchased in advance for $3.50 at Apex Feed and Supply, Peoples News and Broughton Foods in Marietta. Tickets can be purchased the day of the social for $4.