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Friends group plans ice cream social; welcomes new members

WESTFIELD-Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail are hosting a member appreciation ice cream social on July 24.

New and renewed members and their families will receive a ticket for a free medium ice cream cone (plain, sugar or waffle), redeemable at Munchy’s at 24 North Elm St. that afternoon.

Carmel Steger, chair of the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail, Inc., discusses logistics for an upcoming ice cream social with Jared Desharnais, manager of Munchy’s, 24 North Elm St., Westfield, on July 7. (LORI SZEPELAK PHOTO)

Friends members will gather at the Esplanade from 1-3 p.m. to share the latest information about the status of the rail trail, and distribute tickets for members so they can then walk to Munchy’s and choose from a wide variety of ice cream flavors.

Current ice cream flavors offered at Munchy’s range from golden vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, mint chocolate chunk, cookie dough, cookies and cream, and birthday cake, to salted caramel, cotton candy, Maine blueberry, black raspberry, pistachio almondine, orange sherbet, peanut butter and rocky road. Soft serve flavors are also available and include chocolate, vanilla or a twist.

“Each medium cone features three scoops of ice cream with rainbow or chocolate sprinkles,” said Jared Desharnais, manager at Munchy’s.

For those new and renewed members of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail, Inc., a special ice cream social is planned July 24 – featuring ice cream at Munchy’s on North Elm Street. (LORI SZEPELAK PHOTO)

For persons redeeming their ticket on July 24, Munchy’s offers a side window for ordering, as well as walking inside the restaurant which depicts a soda shop reminiscent of the 1950s.

For area residents interested in joining the Friends group, an application is available online – – or applications can be completed on July 24 with Friends members at the Esplanade. An individual membership is $15 and a family membership is $25.

“We also have sponsorships for $150 for businesses who wish to support our efforts and are excited by the rail trail,” said Carmel Steger, chair of the Friends group.

Steger said the event is a way to say “thank you” to those in the community who have been supportive of the efforts of the Friends group for several years. Parking is available on a Meadow Street side lot near the bridge, on Elm Street, and on Old Pochassic Street behind Munchy’s.

“We can’t wait to see you and say thank you for supporting our mission to help create a more pedestrian and bike-friendly Westfield,” said Steger.

Funds raised through the Friends group support a variety of amenities along the rail trail, including dog waste stations, tree plantings, and historical signs, as well as having the ability to host events to bring attention to the rail trail.

“We love the Esplanade and we love Munchy’s and we want them both to do well,” said Steger, adding the rail trail – when completed this fall – will be a “great thoroughfare” for those accessing the downtown area for varied reasons – from attending church and supporting businesses to enjoying being outdoors and exercising.

On a related note, Steger said area residents are also encouraged to consider volunteering and can assist Friends members throughout the year in a variety of ways, ranging from outreach efforts to businesses to helping pass out water bottles at local events.

“We also encourage people to attend our monthly board meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Millworks office space at The Mill at Crane Pond,” said Steger.

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