Small Towns: Local Lions Club offers summer gift of music and ice cream
EDIT: Due to the heat, the performance scheduled for August 23 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.
WAYSIDE, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s become a summertime tradition in a southern Brown County park, filled with free music and free ice cream.
And it’s all thanks to a local Lions Club giving back to its generous community members.
This week in Small Towns, we visit Way-Morr Park, home to Music in the Park.
On six Wednesday evenings every summer, hundreds of people pack in their lawn chairs to scenic Way-Morr Park and settle in.
The atmosphere is relaxing, peaceful, and friendly.
“Kind of gets back to the hometown atmosphere and the hometown feel, the crowds come out and everybody enjoys ice cream and hamburgers and hot dogs, and some music, and it’s all free via the Lion’s Club,” says Curt Nushart, a member of the band North 40.
The Wayside-Morrison Lions Club started Music in the Park 15 years ago to give community members something to enjoy.
“I kind of said in the meeting, we’ll just have some free ice cream and it’s been a kick ever since, and we have good people in the community, businesses they help donate to this and so we’re really blessed by that,” explains Diane Blasha, a Wayside-Morrison Lions Club member.
On a typical night, the Lions Club serves up around 30 gallons of ice cream, plus all kinds of toppings.
The Wayside Youth Group raises funds by selling hamburgers and brats.
Throw in some great music and it’s a summertime gem, a can’t-miss evening for folks from Morrison, Wayside, Lark, and Greenleaf.
“Yeah, we’re pretty lucky, every time we remember to, this year I put it on all on the calendar, so I’ve been to everyone,” says Mary Mancoske from Greenleaf.
“It’s close by, don’t have to go to the big city or anything like that, and like whenever somebody moves in new, I’ll just give them a slip that says, hey come on down and check it out, and it’s a cheap date I call it,” adds Blasha with a smile.
Bands that play here say it’s one of their favorite venues, with a spectacular setting, and always a happy crowd.
“I think a lot of it’s got to do with everybody just wants to get out and about, and meet and greet, put the iPhone down and the computers and everything down and get out to old-fashioned talking again and socializing,” says Nushart.
During each Music in the Park, the Lion’s Club holds 50/50 raffles to benefit those in need and local service organizations.
Thousands of dollars are often donated.
“A lot of the Music in the Park is paid for by different businesses just from the community, we have two or three different fundraisers each year and we get overwhelming support from everyone and that’s what helps us, all the money that comes here gets given back to people that need the help,” says Dan Vercauteren, Wayside-Morrison Lions Club Past President.
It’s a lot of good thanks to some music, some ice cream, and an evening that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
“Kind of an old-fashioned community that’s for sure, I mean a lot of people like to kind of stay how the way it was,” says Vancauteren.
As this year’s summer season comes to a close with one more Music in the Park, the Way-Morr Lions are already at work setting their line-up for next summer and ordering a lot more ice cream.
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