Jeff Ferguson scoops up a helping of Ferguson's Home-Made chocolate ice cream on Monday afternoon at the Appalachian Fair. (Max Hrenda/Johnson City Press)
For some people, the start of the Appalachian Fair may herald the return of a favorite ride or carnival game.
For others, however, the fair’s return may also mean the return of a favorite frozen treat.
For over a decade, Jeff and Donna Ferguson have served Ferguson’s Home-Made Ice Cream out of the Fordtown Ruritan food stand during the Appalachian Fair.
“We’ve been here at the fair for about 15 years,” Jeff Ferguson said. “It has been a good show for us each year.”
The Fergusons have been using their own recipes — which Jeff credited to his wife’s ingenuity — to provide fairgoers with cool, sweet treats since 1999. During those 15 years, Jeff said, he and his wife have acquired something of a fan following.
“We’ve got a lot of people who say they’re just here for our ice cream,” he said. “That makes us feel real good.”
Ferguson’s Ice Cream is made on site outside the food stand in the couple’s personalized ice cream makers. This year, the Fergusons’ customers have eight choices of flavor: strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, butter pecan, peach, blackberry, raspberry and peanut butter.
“We’re doing the eight right now,” Jeff said. “But we’ve got other flavors that we do occasionally. Sometimes we’ll do cookies and cream or strawberry shortcake.”
Along with those flavors, Jeff said, the Fergusons also offer alterations and additions to their ice cream in the form of hot fudge cakes and strawberry shortcakes, all of which are also handmade.
“We make the fudge and everything, too,” he said.
For some local residents, the Fergusons’ ice cream has become an annual tradition unto itself. According to Johnson City resident Richard Crain, he and his wife have made yearly trips to the fair to sample the ice cream for the past eight years.
“It’s something we do together every year,” Crain said. “It has become one of our traditions.”
For his devoted customers like the Crains, Ferguson said he wanted them to know they were back and ready to receive them.
“Come on back this year,” he said. “We’re here still slinging it.”
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