Hokey Pokey’s has been a Corning tradition since the late 1980s. If you’ve been there this summer, you’ve noticed they’ve added a new twist that’s neither chocolate nor vanilla.
All summer long Lorraine and Randy Stanton are dressing in 50s garb and piping classic songs of the era through their outdoor sound system at 37 W. William Street, behind The Leader news building on Pulteney Street in Corning. Day after day you’ll find Randy wearing white pants, white button-up short sleeves, red bow tie, a paper serving hat and a friendly smile. Lorraine is apt to be decked out in a poodle skirt and saddle shoes.
You can grab a cone and check them out at Taste of Corning on Thursday, July 23, from 5-8 p.m. This Bridge Street festival features the Gaffer District’s food, businesses and unique culture. Corning’s favorite raucous Irish band, The Town Pants from Toronto will perform. Hokey Pokey’s will add to the fun with a classic car show at the corner of Wallace and W. William Street.
Why the homage to the decade that brought us sock hops, the Twist, 3-D movies and “Leave it to Beaver?”
“It makes people happy,” says Lorraine. “All the tumult and bad things happening in the world today … The fifties were calmer, simpler.”
While America in the 1950s certainly was not free of political and social strife, it’s easy to get lost in nostalgia when you are sitting under the yellow and red umbrellas at Hokey Pokey’s, listing to Ritchie Valens croon to Donna, slurping a chocolate malted or a vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles.
In addition to your usual ice cream treats, Hokey Pokey’s is locally-famous for it’s homemade Italian ices in every flavor imaginable. Pair with a twist of soft ice cream for an original Okey Dokey. The shop is open 10 a.m.- 9p.m. daily.
Lorraine and Randy will celebrate forty years of marriage in September and are nearing thirty years in business at Hokey Pokey’s. Randy’s dad, Earle, 80, started the family in the business of ice cream when he purchased a refrigerated truck in 1960. For decades he drove the truck through the neighborhoods of Elmira and Corning, and Earle’s Ice Cream, in the original truck, still makes appearances and serves at special events.
Lorraine says of Randy, “Ice cream is in his blood.” One look at those twinkly eyes underneath the paper cap, and you’ll know it’s true.
Both the Stantons’ children grew up serving frozen goodness, and now their four grandchildren are just itching to be part of the behind-the-counter action. And they are all committed to the Hokey Pokey tradition of bringing good cheer, great taste and simple fun to the families of Corning.
Maybe the Stantons have it right … Maybe our little Hokey Pokey really IS what it’s all about.
DID YA KNOW? “The Hokey Pokey,” an expression made famous by the children’s song, may have originated with an ice cream vendor from England, who would call out “Hokey pokey penny a lump. Have a lick make you jump.” “Hokey pokey” was supposedly slang at the time for ice cream and the ice cream seller was called the “hokey pokey man,” according to www.todayifoundout.com. The song was written in 1942 by English band Leader Al Tabor, and it is called “The Hokey Cokey” in the UK, where cokey means “crazy.” Who knew?