While butter and ice cream are the most visible components of Markerville’s annual Cream Day, the main goal of the event is to bring together the community, said organizer Amber Longacre.
The lawn in front of Markerville’s historic creamery was filled with people last Sunday. A line stretched from a gazebo in the middle, where ice cream and pie were for sale. Demonstrators in tents occupied one side of the yard, showing old-fashioned cream separating, butter churning, and ice cream making.
The freshly churned butter, too soft to be pressed into a brick, was spread on salted crackers and sampled to visitors. The ice cream, made in a tub with coarse salt and ice, was also sampled in small cones. It was so soft it melted and ran down the side of the cone if not immediately eaten. Children sat at picnic tables, their hands sticky and their faces smeared with ice cream.
“The cream separating, the butter making, and the ice cream making are designed to give a look into the past at the olden days,” said Longacre. She added that they try not to change the event from year to year, preferring to maintain tradition.
New additions in recent years have included a popcorn machine at the concession stand and a bouncy castle. Organizer Kolton Safron said some of the performers are also different each year.
Safron said Cream Day attendance was good this year. Longacre estimated the day’s turnout to be almost 1,000, higher than last year’s 600-700 visitors.
Karen Rusmell drove from Springbrook to attend the event, as she has done for eight years.
“We try and come every year,” said Rusmell. She likes the day’s atmosphere, as do her grandchildren.
“I enjoy sitting and listening to the music and they enjoy playing,” said Rusmell. She plans to return next year.
Longacre said Cream Day is promoted on nearby radio stations and newspapers, with flyers, and on Facebook.
“I’m sure if you did no advertisements, we would still have a good turnout. Lots of people come here every year,” said Safron.
Markerville was founded by Icelandic settlers, who built the creamery to make a profit, said Longacre.
“That was the main supply of income for the whole town,” said Safron. While the creamery is no longer functioning, it still stands as a museum. A small shop serves ice cream and Icelandic food.
“Icelanders had a sense of community,” said Longacre.
Longacre and Safron were unsure when the Cream Day celebration began, but date it to sometime in the 1990s.
Longacre said the event’s name came from farmers in the area picking up their cream cheques every Monday. The farmers dubbed this day “Cream Day”.
Longacre said the day is now organized with the help of volunteers and donations from nearby communities.
“We get so much help for the event,” she said.