Friday, September 22, 2023

Brookdale Hearthstone builds 20-foot sundae

Staff Writer | July 10, 2023 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — The residents and staff at Brookdale Hearthstone got to take part in a sweet, if somewhat obscure, tradition Friday, celebrating National Strawberry Sundae Day on a big scale.

“We decided what better way to celebrate than to have a 20-foot strawberry sundae,” said Kar Vanerstrom, sales manager at Brookdale Hearthstone. “So that’s what we’re building.”

It would have been difficult to imagine a better day for the celebration, with the mercury rising almost to three digits and fresh strawberries in season. Brookdale Hearthstone staff set up a long table with a row of 32 small paper bowls and filled them with ice cream and, in most of them, strawberries.

“We’re gonna leave the middle ones just in case someone doesn’t want strawberries, so they can add something else,” Vanerstrom said.

Vanerstom and the Brookdale Hearthstone team then ran a couple of lines of whipped cream down the row, tying all the bowls together into a single unit, and added sprinkles and maraschino cherries.

“Everybody’s excited for these sundaes,” said Activity Director Aleecia Robledo. “Who doesn’t love ice cream?”

“If we’re 17, do we get two?” asked resident Dave Roberts, who didn’t give his age but appeared to be a bit beyond that. He had seconds anyway.

The origins of National Strawberry Sundae Day are obscure, but ice cream sundaes themselves date back to the 19th century, according to the Dairy Alliance, a dairy industry organization in the southeastern U.S., and may have been created as a way to circumvent laws prohibiting the sale of ice cream sodas on Sundays. The sundae extravaganza at Brookdale Hearthstone involved about a gallon and a half of ice cream and four pounds of strawberries, Vanerstrom said.

“The next one that we're going to be doing is, we're going to try a 30-foot hot dog,” Vanerstrom said. “Because I have a hot dog outfit that I wear.”

The hot dog event will be at the end of the month, she added.

In all, 20 residents came into the activity room and enjoyed the fruity dessert, according to Vanerstrom, although even with the air conditioning it was hard to keep the ice cream from melting.

“We should have supplied straws there towards the end,” she wrote in an email after the event. “But it was a great way to get residents up, talking and moving. And that was the goal.”

Joel Martin may be reached via email at



Brookdale Hearthstone Activity Director Aleecia Robledo scoops ice cream into bowls while resident Dave Roberts watches and Kendall Vance, left, and Kar Vanerstrom stand ready with more supplies for the 20-foot strawberry sundae they created to mark National Strawberry Sundae Day.

Recent Headlines