For fans of Theno’s Dairy ice cream, the nightmare of its demise may be over.
Resurrecting the locally iconic ice cream was the brainchild of Patrick Lee, head of Bona Fide American Mission, the nonprofit in charge of organizing the Sammamish Valley Festival, which runs August 16-17 from 11 a.m. to dusk at 16215 – 140th Place NE in Woodinville.
If you’re like me, you’ve got at least one favorite memory of a sun-kissed day spent sitting outside of Theno’s Dairy enjoying a scoop of one of their many flavors of Vivian’s Pride Ice Cream.
It was an annual tradition to visit the dairy to have a scoop of their pumpkin ice cream on an early fall day with my grandmother.
For Donna Reynolds, Theno’s Dairy means family. And for the record, pumpkin ice cream was her favorite flavor, too.
Reynold’s grandfather, James "Pete" Theno, ran the dairy for years before selling it around 1990 to one of their employees, Doug Bloor.
"Vivian’s Pride Ice Cream was named after my great-grandmother who came up with the idea of selling ice cream at the dairy," said Reynolds.
"I was so hurt when the dairy closed in 2012," she added. Then, on April 1 of this year, her grandfather passed away. It was a few weeks later when a client brought her a flier they’d seen requesting help to re-open Theno’s Dairy.
"I was so excited!" she said, after admitting that she bawled when she heard the news about bringing it back.
Now, Reynolds is helping with the campaign to bring back the dairy’s ice cream, hopefully on a permanent basis.
Also on board with the project is Bloor, who is working with Lee to set up the manufacturing equipment and instruct on the production process, and 21 Acres, who have made their commercial kitchen temporarily available for the production process.
Top on every fan’s mind is what flavors will be sold.
Lee said it was too soon to announce, as they were still finalizing the options.
More importantly, Lee needs to sell the 4,000 scoops of ice cream that will be produced for the festival. If the festival achieves that goal, then the ice cream will continue to be produced and sold locally through the rest of the summer.
Lee’s goal beyond the summer, if the 4,000-scoop goal is met, is to find a permanent establishment to set up ice cream production and set up a mobile food truck selling Theno’s ice cream.
"The plan is to have the ice cream’s profits become a fundraiser for our nonprofit’s mission," said Lee.
For Reynolds, the question she gets asked most often is will the dairy reopen in the same place it was just south of NE 124th St. along SR 202 for years. "It’s not. It would take too much effort to do so. It’s more important that my family’s name and the product live on," she said.
Besides ice cream, the Sammamish Valley Festival will offer live music by Country Dave and Friends, pony rides, Giddy Up barbecue, Minea Farm apple cider, and Cougar Crest wine tasting.
There will be educational booths and fun games for attendees.
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call (425) 394-3397.