MURRAY — This weekend’s Murray Ice Cream Festival in the city’s downtown area will have a heavy Murray State University presence.
Murray Main Street Program Director Deana Wright, whose agency heads the annual festival, said Murray State students comprise the majority of the 160 volunteers that are needed to help the event run smoothly.
“Most of those are from fraternities and sororities at Murray State and we appreciate every one of them,” Wright said Wednesday as preparations continued for the festival that starts Friday night with the popular Scooper Bowl fundraiser for local nonprofits. “They’re also really good about being involved in things happening in the community.
“I also have other friends who get involved, and when you combine those two groups, we’re able to have enough (help) and we need that because this is a lot of work and there are lot of things going on. We usually don’t have much trouble asking, though. It’s free ice cream! What else do you need?’
Murray State Greek groups involved in the volunteer effort include fraternities Alpha Tau Omega, Phil Kappa Tau and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and sororities Alpha Omega Pi, Delta Zeta and Sigma Sigma Sigma.
The free ice cream part of the event actually does not begin until noon Saturday when Kroger supplies free ice cream samples to anyone wishing to satisfy their urge for the frozen treats. Booths will be positioned throughout the court square.
There will be other attractions that also require lots of help, particularly in regard to keeping children safe. Wright said a wide variety of inflatables will be available, along with bungee jumping. Those activities are free on Friday and sponsored by The Murray Bank. On Saturday, a $10 wristband will be required for entry to the children’s activities from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m, which will include a water slide for the first time this year.
From 5-8 p.m. Friday, The Murray Bank Scooper Bowl will offer nonprofits and other community groups the chance to create their own ice cream recipe, then have it judged by the audience. The cost is $5 and includes unlimited access to those booths. Once the creations have been sampled, votes are cast by the audience to determine whose treat was best.
All of the admission fee money is then divided among four local nonprofits — the Murray-Calloway County Homeless Coalition, Murray-Calloway County Senior Citizens Center, Soup for the Soul and Neartown Recovery.
“This is an important event for our nonprofits, so we need everybody to come out and support this. They have before and we end up with literally thousands of people on the square that night,” said Wright, noting that the Friday night entertainment is not over with the Scooper Bowl.
“We also are going to have one of our Movies on the Square and, for this one, we’re showing ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ at 8 p.m., and I’m hearing that there may be a chance that Spider-Man himself may show up too.”
Along with the free ice cream from noon until 5 p.m. and the children’s activities, Saturday will be loaded with activities for every age. Also starting at noon will be a Top Gun Cruise In that will feature numerous classic vehicles. Also, Murray performer Arista Manning will take the stage at 1 p.m. for a concert that will be followed at 1:30 by the annual “I Scream Karaoke” activity with the grand prize being free Kroger Brand Ice Cream for a year.
More information is available at the festival website, www.murrayicecreamfestival.com.