Customers braved the bitter cold and likely felt about the same temperature as what they were ordering, as Milky Way Ice Cream opened up its doors for the season Friday morning.
As soon as 11 a.m. rolled around, a lineup quickly formed with people dressed in their full winter gear braving a wind chill that was pushing -30 C for a frozen treat.
“It’s just been a long tradition ever since I was a little kid coming here. It means a lot and it’s a kickoff to spring, even though it doesn’t feel like it yet,” laughed Jeret Friesen, one of the first in line.
“I’ve been coming here ever since I was a little kid,” echoed Marilyn Kurtz. “It doesn’t matter about the weather. This place has been around forever.”
“We have a lot of faithful customers … it’s just like a big family,” said Milky Way co-owner Carole Bolt.
The 2017 opening was a historic one for Bolt.
“This is the earliest we’ve ever opened and the coldest,” she confirmed, explaining that when they checked the long-range forecast several weeks ago, the temperature was expected to be much warmer.
Even with the sharp drop, Bolt said they stuck with their decision.
“You just have to pick a date and just go with it, but Mother Nature’s not cooperating very good,” she said.
That’s not stopping diehard customers like Kurtz who — cone in hand — fondly recalled coming for ice cream with her family as a child.
“My dad and mom used to always bring us here on a Sunday afternoon after church.”
It’s those memories that warm her up on a cold day.