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Unicoi History Group hosts Ice Cream Social

Photo Contributed • Music was traditionally a part of Ice Cream Socials, like the one held this past weekend in Unicoi.

By Richard Rourk

The Unicoi History Group brought back an old-fashioned summer tradition to Unicoi County on Saturday, July 24.

The group hosted its annual Ice Cream Social at the Bogart-Bowman Cabin in Unicoi. “We’ve been doing this for over a decade now,” said Unicoi History Group President Leisa Willis. “This is a chance for everyone to get out and meet their neighbors while enjoying a cool treat.”

The tradition of an ice cream social has deep roots in American culture dating back to the 18th century.  As ice cream became more widely available, schools, churches and civic organization began to host ice cream socials.

The nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, hosted the first White House ice cream social in 1802.

Prior to ice cream becoming commercially available, it was a luxury treat almost exclusively reserved for the upper classes. Ice cream parties became all the rage in England at the court of King Charles II during the late 1600s.

The ice cream and other treats are only a part of the Unicoi History Group’s Ice Cream Social. 

Willis noted that the event feature live music and plenty of activities for the kids.

“It’s a great time for people to get together and talk. It’s a great opportunity to meet your neighbors. People used to get together like this and talk while the children played, and we are excited to bring that back.”

The Unicoi History Group has several other events planned for the upcoming months. 

“We are working on Heritage Days, which will be in the fall,” Willis said. “We are also planning in preparation for our annual Veterans Day event and Christmas at the Cabin event.”

The interested public can learn more about the Unicoi History Group by attending one of the group’s meeting on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. inside the Bogart-Bowman Cabin. 

“We are always looking for new members and volunteers,” Willis said.

Refreshments are served at the meetings and a history presentation usually accompanies the meeting.