Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meet Moolinda

Since we are on the subject of my town: Le Mars, Iowa (read my last blog entry), I really cannot overlook one of my other (and less offensive!) favorite attractions in this community. Le Mars, being “The Ice Cream Capital of the World(R)” would, OF COURSE, be the location of a museum and Visitor Center devoted to the history of ice cream and the history of Wells’ Dairy, Inc., who make Blue Bunny(R) ice cream and novelties. You may not know this, but Wells’ Dairy was founded in Le Mars in 1913 by a man named Fred H. Wells, Jr. when he purchased a horse, a wagon, some cans and jars, and a small milk route from a local dairy farmer in the area – all for the grand total sum of $250.

95 years later, Blue Bunny products can be found in all 50 states…which certainly makes it nice when this Ice Cream Princess travels! Today, more ice cream is made here in Le Mars, Iowa, by Wells’ Dairy in one location (Le Mars, Iowa) than any other company does in any other single location on the planet….over 100,000,000 gallons of ice cream each year!

The road a small town dairy travels in order to become one of the largest family-owned dairy processors in the U.S. is dotted with unique milestones, roadblocks, hills, valleys, superhighways and, in one literal case, a memorable billboard that graced a thoroughfare of Le Mars in the 1950’s.

This billboard drew considerable interest from community residents and passers-by as it promoted Wells’ Dairy in a 3-dimensional way. The focus? A larger-than-life fiberglass Jersey cow head promoting the goodness of Wells’ Dairy. The billboard drew even more attention when it fell victim to a college prank…..several students from the town university kidnapped the beloved Jersey cow head and held her captive for several days. She was later release, unharmed. In time, the billboard was removed, never to be seen again.

Until the late Fall of 2004. In an attempt to clean out some of Wells’ Dairy’s old storage buildings, a crew of employees uncovered the old and battered cow head, marred by years of neglect. It was offered to the Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center Museum to display among its collection of Wells’ Dairy memorabilia. The museum enthusiastically accepted and the Jersey cow underwent an “Extreme Moooo-keover”.

Months later, the cow head, restored beyond her original beauty was erected within the halls of the “Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center” Museum and a contest was held in order to find her a suitable name. Thousands of entries from all over the country were considered but the name “Moolinda” was the one chosen from an ice cream fan in Texas.

If you pass anywhere near Le Mars, Iowa, you really must stop in and say hello. You really might find her “udderly” delightful.

By the way...here is a picture of the famous billboard (and Moolinda in her prime!) in its "hey-day" - circa 1960's):

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