The annual Ice Cream Social at the 1223 Pere Marquette locomotive at Grand Haven’s Chinook Pier Park is Thursday, Aug. 16. Train tours will take place from 4-8 p.m. and ice cream will be served from 6-8 p.m.
The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is partnering with the Reimagine Project for this year’s social to raise funds specifically for the train component that will be featured in the new play space at Mulligan’s Hollow. Museum Director Julie Bunke said they hope to raise at least $1,000.
“Every little bit helps,” she said.
When local students started developing ideas for the new play space design last fall, Bunke shared the area’s nautical and shipping history with the kids. She said it was fun seeing their imaginations get sparked by the information.
“They really enjoyed that aspect of it,” Bunke said.
Last year, about 850 people attended the ice cream social at the train. About 200 people attended last month’s ice cream social event at DeWitt School in Spring Lake Township.
The museum hosts the events as a way to extend museum programs beyond its four walls, Bunke said.
While tours of the locomotive are self-guided, a volunteer will be in the cab to provide information and answer questions, said Matt Braginton, a member of the Pere Marquette 1223 Preservation Committee.
Braginton and his son are the third and fourth generations of their family involved in the preservation committee. Some of the preservation efforts have included a new whistle. Braginton said the next big project will be the restoration of the Grand Trunk Western caboose, which is the orange car.
Braginton said he thinks the train component at the new play space in Mulligan’s Hollow will be a “wonderful way” to incorporate the area’s history and have something fun for children to be active.
“There’s so much history in the transportation sector in the Tri-Cities with the shipping and the boat building, locomotive era and steam ferries, that it’s important to really help the next generation learn about what was here once,” he said.