Holy Family Hospital hosted an ice cream social for its neighbors Tuesday night, and more than 800 people showed up.
“We’re always looking for something fun to do,” said Shelley Mader, who went with her son and daughter.
They got their free ice cream sundaes, the big draw of the event, and the kids ran a small obstacle course while they waited for an appearance by McGruff, the crime-fighting dog.
At one point, the ice cream line stretched across a parking lot in front of the hospital entrance while a band played German music on the lawn.
On hand for the event were the neighborhood crime-fighting organizations, which were marking the annual night-out event celebrating the success of Block Watch and the city’s community-oriented police groups.
“I think this is fantastic,” said Louis Allen, vice president of COPS Northwest, based at Shadle Center.
He was taking advantage of an opportunity to invite North Side residents to a free picnic, sponsored by COPS Northwest, Saturday at Shadle Park.
The picnic starts at 2 p.m. There will be free hot dogs, drinks and prizes. Guests are asked to bring a salad, dessert or chips.
Among the other performers Tuesday were the Side Steps jump rope team sponsored by the NevaWood COPS organization.
This is the fourth year Holy Family has sponsored the ice cream social, and it was easily the largest turnout, hospital officials said.
The social has become a highlight of Dominican Week, which each year recognizes the accomplishments and history of the Dominican Sisters, who founded Holy Family Hospital in the early 1960s. The Dominicans, who emigrated from Germany in the 1920s, several years ago turned over control of the hospital to the Sisters of Providence in Spokane.
“It’s a week we honor our heritage,” said Barbara Savage, a vice president at the hospital.
“An ice cream social in the summertime seems like a really good way to get people together,” said Anne McKeon, spokeswoman for the hospital.
Employee and neighbor Jean Van Winkle said, “My kids look forward to it every year.”