The origin of the bicycle ice cream carts began in the 1930’s. Each bike had a bell so that families would hear them coming up the street. There were four or five bikes and the Goshen Dairy employed high school students who participated in athletics to run the routes throughout the city. They would each have a route in the city and the young riders knew when the various factories on their routes would be taking breaks, so they timed their routes according to the factory breaks.
The big seller was the “Happy Bar” in packages of 12 or 24. If a purchased box contained a happy bar with strawberry ice cream, the owner would receive a free happy bar. The young riders also had Popsicles and small pints of ice cream. One route circumvented Tuscora Park, not going into the park because the park had concessionaires and Goshen Dairy did not want to jeopardize private business in the park.
The late Herb Bichsel, an uncle of William Jr. and Jerry, was in charge of the young riders and their routes. William Jr. does not recall the last time the regular routes were ran, but he believes it was sometime in the 1950’s. His brother Jerry remembers Don Angel having a bike route in 1965, the year William Jr. and Jerry’s father passed away. Their father William “Bill” Bichsel, Sr. lived by the motto – “Tomorrow will be here today” Perhaps that is why Goshen Dairy was so successful for so many decades.
Many local residents have fond memories of the bicycle coming up the road handing out delicious treats such as ice cream cups and the famous Happy Bars. They were a staple entry of the First Town Days parade for many, many years. For this reason, the committee of First Town Days Festival has decided to feature the bicycle ice cream cart on the parade route as this years plate design.
The committee would like to thank the Bichsel family for their many years of giving smiles to kids and adults in the community.