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July 15, 2009 > A delicious way to socialize Victorian style

A delicious way to socialize Victorian style

By Ritu Jha

Would you like to travel back in time? How about a trip to the Victorian era to enjoy ice cream served by ladies dressed in period costumes at an historic 1876 house?

Experience all of the above by making plans to attend this year's Victorian Ice-Cream Social on Sunday, July 19, noon to 4 p.m. at historic Shinn House.

"It's an old-fashioned ice cream social," said Joan Serafino, President of the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation. She continued that in Victorian times and in the 1900's, often churches and organizations would hold ice-cream socials as the frozen treat was a brand new novelty.

To add ambiance of the 1900's, volunteers will be dressed in Victorian costumes and serve ice cream, popcorn and hot dogs. Model A cars, gunfighters of the old west and lace-making demonstrations will add to the atmosphere. "It's like a step back in time," said Serafino.

Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream will be available and, of course, toppings to complete the treat including strawberry, hot fudge and whipped cream with a cherry.

Proceeds from the social will benefit the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation's (MPHF) to assist the City of Fremont in maintaining this legendary mansion. "It is one of the best kept secrets in Fremont," said Serafino about the Shinn house. She has been a volunteer there for the past 40 years. Volunteers will also provide tours of the Shinn House.

The Shinn House, built in a rare Victorian Farm style with Bavarian influences, has treasured Victorian furniture and memorabilia dating from 1876-1915. Surrounding the house on 4-1/2 acres are many exotic trees and rare plants imported by Shinn, a pioneer in the nursery business. The grounds used to be 250 acres according to Serafino.

"It was also home to James and Lucy Shinn's surviving children, all pioneers in their respective fields and important contributors to the history of California. Charles Howard Shinn was an early conservationist and first superintendent of Yosemite National Park. Dr. Millicent Washburn Shinn, the first female doctoral graduate of University of California at Berkeley, became an author, and pioneer child psychologist. Joseph Clark Shinn, was a horticulturist, community leader, and served as the first president of the Alameda County Water District.

Victorian Ice Cream Social
Sunday, July 19
12 Noon to 4 p.m.
(Volunteers are welcome for set up at 10:30 a.m.)
Shinn Historic House and Park
1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(510) 795-0891

Tickets are $5 per person, children $2.50, ages 5 years and below are free.
A $10 lifetime MPHF membership includes a free tour of the house.

Shinn Historic House is open to the public all year on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of the month between 1 and 3 p.m.

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