Soggiest of all: LDW Opening Day arrived anyway
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (March 3, 2023) – More than two inches of rain had fallen by the time Loveland Dairy Whip (LDW) opened the window on the 2023 Ice Cream Season, but that did not stop the faithful fans of Loveland’s favorite soft serve ice cream treats on OPENING DAY.
Trust me, it is a long-standing tradition in Loveland for the LDW serving up arguably the best soft-serve ice cream treats in town for more than 65 years in the same location. To be exact, 2023 marks the 68th year for Loveland Dairy Whip at 601 W. Loveland Avenue, in Loveland, Ohio. Rick Morgan, one half of the husband-wife dairy whip ownership team with Teresa Flint-Morgan, added up the years from the July 1955 original opening. It was the Flint family who started the business. This is a special year for Teresa and Rick too.
“This is our 30th year as owners,” said Rick. “We bought it back from the previous owners and reopened in March 1993.”
And the tradition once started by Teresa’s parents was renewed then and continues now. Despite the rain and her one word “Soggy” description of today’s 2023 Opening Day at the LDW, the cars were at the drive thru window and people lined up at the walk-up window before the official 2 p.m. opening. Yes, they were wearing the usual smiles in anticipation of their usual first cone of the season.
At the drive-thru window, the honor of first in line went to Patty and Hank Goforth.
“It’s a tradition,” said Patty. “We come here every year on opening day and sometimes we’re here first and sometimes we’re not.”
Hank was quick to chime in with: “We come here once or twice a week all summer long too.”
So what is their traditional opening day first treat of the season?
“It is a medium vanilla ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and a cup of chocolate sprinkles on the side,” Patty said.
Hank likes the sprinkles too, but his are not chocolate.
“I always get a chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles,” he said.
While they were comfortably dry in their automobile, it was a bit of a different story for the folks making their way up to the walk-up window for the first dairy whip ice cream of the 2023 season. It was no surprise to see the familiar multi-colored heart jacket of the Loveland Valentine Ladies first up at the window– even if partially camouflaged by umbrellas (also with a heart design). Officially the first in line was Valentine Lady Janis Fogle, but she was joined by fellow Valentine Ladies Kathy Lorenz and Jeannie Shumaker. They were there braving the heavy rains and keeping up the Valentine Ladies tradition of gathering for ice cream at the Loveland Dairy Whip on Opening Day each year. It is just one of the many things they do throughout the year to support local business. But then, this is ice cream
“I will be the first at the window,” said Fogle. “I will order the small vanilla cone with eyeballs as always.”
It is her tradition and she did not break tradition. Lorenz followed her and held true to the same tradition ordering the small vanilla cone with eyeballs. It took the creative daring of Jeannie Shumaker to make a slight change as she ordered a chocolate cone…with eyeballs of course. Ah but it is the kids after-all who make the dairy whip tradition so much fun. The youngest kid to arrive first for 2023 Opening Day at the Loveland Dairy Whip was Waylon Blankenship tucked safely in the arms of his mom Victoria Sova right behind the Valentine Ladies.
“I’ve been coming here since I was little,” said Sova. “We moved to Georgia, but since we’ve been back, him and his sister; we’ve all three come to the dairy whip for opening day.”
Waylon went for the “Little League” strawberry with sprinkles and mom ordered another of the vanilla with eyeballs. The traditions continued throughout the early hours, even as the rain fell heavy at times. That soaking rain was not lost on Teresa Morgan.
“It is the soggiest opening day we have ever had,” said Teresa. “We’ve had cold, we’ve had frigid cold, we’ve had warm, but we’ve never had soggy, ever.”
There was something else different for Teresa this year.
“It is not a traditional opening day for me as well,” Teresa explained. “I do not have my dog and I do not have my mom to call. But they’re with me…”
Teresa then showed two necklace pieces she was wearing around her neck. One was her mom’s; the other was the dog’s, his nose print impression on a medallion. She left no doubt mom and the dog might not be physically present as in past tradition, but both were very much present with her in her heart for 2023 Opening Day at the LDW. And at the window?
“I see a lot of regulars,” she said. “And they’re out smiling in the rain. Other than it being soggy, it’s normal. We were ready to go last night. We’re back.”
Hannah Coggeshall, Lainey Sowder and Layla King rushed to be first out the door of the Loveland Middle School and rode over to the LDW with mom. They were the first of the LMS students to show up for opening day ice cream.
“We ran down the halls to get in the car,” said Sowder. “We were the first to leave.”
It was about 20 minutes after the official 2 p.m. opening when the school kids started lining up at the windows. Rain, what rain? The tradition looked to be well intact as the kids streamed in for their first ice cream of the season. One of those regulars on hand Friday for the opening day was LDW Crew member Caroline Gott
The University of Cincinnati senior has been doing it since her high school days. She graduates in April, but is applying for medical school. Who knows, she might be back for the opener in 2024. Rick Morgan has memories of many before this one, including a very snowy 2015 opening day, and knows the weather never stops the crowd from coming.
“We were busy that day (snowy day 2015) and I’m sure we’ll be busy today,” Rick said. “The kids are coming out of school. This is Teresa and I’s (sic) 30th year.”
He’s been doing preparations of one kind or another for over a month. The nice thing is actually opening is pretty simple the day before because of the detail they go through when they close at the end of the previous season. All the machines are cleaned and wrapped so opening day is unwrap and fill the machines – just like they do every day during the season. They are happy to be back. The rest is fun.
“It’s always fun to work in here,” said Rick. “We see all our regulars, seeing all the people coming out. When you have a long line of people, that just tells you they really like us. They come back because we have a good product.”
A good product and a very good tradition. It is ice cream season at the Loveland Dairy Whip.