All Scream For Ice Cream

All Scream For Ice Cream

Headquarters House hosts signature family event


Headquarters House was not a happy home for the Jonas Tebbetts family during the Civil War.

Tebbetts, a staunch Union supporter, escaped to the North after a threat against his life, and his house was alternately headquarters to both the Union and Confederate armies during their respective occupations of Fayetteville. The Greek Revival structure also sustained significant damage during the Battle of Fayetteville in April 1863.

But now, 155 years later, it is headquarters for the Washington County Historical Society and host to a signature annual event that is all about family fun, young people sharing local history and, of course, ice cream.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Judy Costello, director of historic programs for WCHS, says of the annual Ice Cream Social, marking its 47th year at Headquarters House. “We’ve got all kinds of entertainment — costumed swordsmen demonstrating feats like slicing apples in the air with their swords, and Heritage School students doing old-fashioned recitations, and Civil War-era dancing, and a brass ensemble, and two teenagers singing Ozark ballads — oh, and children’s activities like pioneer games and making rag dolls. And all that’s included in your $5 [admission] — along with homemade cake and Hiland Dairy ice cream!”

Costello wasn’t born in Fayetteville, but she says she and her husband found their home there way back in 1986. The Ice Cream Social has always been — at least in her memory — an almost-autumn family reunion when everybody comes back to town, gets together and catches up on all the news.

“We tried a couple of years ago to move it to June because it can be so hot in August,” she says, “but it just didn’t feel right. So we decided, you know, we’ve got shade, and we’ve got beautiful gardens, and you’re eating ice cream. It needs to be in August. Last year, we tried to do some things to give it a World War I feel for the anniversary, but people missed the hoop skirts. So they’re back! And everybody wants to see the kids perform.”



Ice Cream Social

WHEN — 3-6 p.m. Aug. 18

WHERE — Headquarters House Museum, 118 E. Dickson St. in Fayetteville

COST — $5 adults; $2.50 ages 6-12; $15 family

INFO — 521-2970 or email

Categories: Family Friendly