The crowd at the annual ice cream social of the Salem United Church of Christ Saturday, Aug. 23, enjoyed the meal, music and activities in spite of a very warm day.
The Salem Ice Cream Social, the only real fundraising event of the church, consists of entertainment, food, cake and ice cream. It has been the big community event and major social event of the Salem congregation for many years. One change this year was the cakewalk, which was moved up to the front of the church to be held on the sidewalk.
The California Community Ensemble, directed by Phil Lewis, started its musical entertainment with the national anthem, as the crowd stood and faced a small flag. Several other pieces, including patriotic tunes, a service medley and several favorite marches of Director Lewis followed before the ensemble members joined the food line.
The event began at 4 p.m. and lasted through the evening. Although some arrived, took part in the cake walk and food, and left, many stayed to "visit" friends, neighbors and old school chums seldom seen. According to church members, the funds generated from sales of food, the bazaar, cakewalk and other activities go into the Sunday School Fund. The fund is used to provide gifts, food and donations of various kinds to be used where the members believe they are needed the most. The present ice cream social is believed to have started more than 40 years ago to raise money for carpeting part of the sanctuary. The event has continued to the present day.
Although no attendance count has been taken, several hundred people attend each year, with a larger crowd nearly every year. The congregation dates back to 1848 when it started in the German Salem settlement. A "new" church built in 1858 serves the congregation, but an original log building, referred to by some as the school, may soon be a thing of the past as a new building is planned.