Bailey Ice Cream Social: Bringing Neighbors Together Since 1974

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 10:16 am
By: 
Christopher A. Wardell

For 44 years, the Orchard Street Pump House has served as the host for residents of the Bailey Neighborhood to come together and enjoy an evening of ice cream, music and fellowship organized and sponsored by the Orchard Street Pump House Board.

This year, the social is set for July 11 at the Orchard Street Pump House with a start time of 6:30 p.m. If the ice cream social is rained out, the make-up date is July 12.

The annual social, now in its 44th year, has traditionally been a way for members of the community to get together to interact, and get to know one another. But this year, the event is fun for a cause.

In an effort to make improvements to Bailey Park, the City of East Lansing has requested $22,000 from the Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the Bailey Community Association has committed to contribute $20,000 towards the cost of the project.

Proposed improvements to the park include an organic, ADA compliant concrete sidewalk, bike racks, maintenance of the current playground with ADA equipment designed for children ages 1-5, and additional landscaping with native species.

Construction is projected to begin in 2019, with a projected completion date of 2020.

So far, the Bailey Park Association Project has raised $5,000 towards the goal.

“Several Bailey Community Association board members have formed this sub-committee and are going door to door engaging our neighbors in the hopes of raising $20,000 for park improvements,” said Tali Faris-Hylen, founder and partner of the East Lansing Public Relations firm Ripple Public Relations. She is also a Bailey Community Association Board Member and currently resides in the Bailey Neighborhood.

Faris-Hylen added, “We are well on our way.”

More information on the crowdfunding initiative will be available at the event, and Bailey Neighborhood residents will be able to renew their membership to the Bailey Community Association during the social.

In addition to free ice cream, the event will feature music by Stan Budzynski and the 3rd Degree, and Shenanigans the Clown, who will be on hand to create balloon animals.

“We typically get 100-150 folks attending, at least for last ten years, or so,” Bailey Community Association Vice Chairman Konrad Hittner said. Hittner is also the Pump House Board Chairman.

“We eat some free ice cream and listen to some fun music, courtesy of the Pump House Board, socialize with neighbors, meet some new neighbors, get a balloon animal from a clown - what could be nicer on a warm summer evening?”

Motives behind the creation of the first ice cream social in 1974 remain unclear, but all signs seem to point to Jerry Mattson, who is now a resident in Bath Township, but was one of the primary movers of the first Pump House Ice Cream Social.

“I don’t know why it started?” Hittner said. “Maybe everyone needed a break from the Watergate hearings that were going that summer? But, there could’ve been other, happier motives.”

While the event is taking place in the Bailey Neighborhood, Feris-Hylan wants to make sure everyone is welcomed to participate.

“This event is one that brings in people from every neighborhood and all are invited,” Faris-Hylen said.