Gunther’s Ice Cream to celebrate 75th anniversary May 16

Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp
Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp

Gunther’s Ice Cream, one of the city’s iconic, old-time businesses, will host a celebration of its 75th anniversary with a variety of attractions this Saturday, May 16.

Food, giveaways, speeches, other amusements

The event, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Gunther’s at 2801 Franklin Blvd., will include meals of a grilled hot dog, drink, chips and dessert for $5. And a complimentary raffle ticket will be given to each person who purchases a each meal.
Raffle ticketholders will have opportunities to win one of four bicycles (two adult and two kids’ bikes) donated by Mike’s Bikes at 1411 I St., as well as various $25 gift cards throughout the day.
Scheduled to speak at the event are Mayor Kevin Johnson, and former Gunther’s employees, Supervisor Phil Serna and Darin Gale, Yuba City’s city director of development services.
Other special features of the day will include an appearance by Dinger, the Sacramento River Cats’ mascot, music with a disc jockey, face painters, balloon art, temporary tattoos, bubbles, a magician and a photo booth that will include an image of “Jugglin’ Joe,” the ice cream scoop juggling character who is featured on the large, locally famous neon sign above Gunther’s front door.
In commenting about the photo booth and the event, in general, Marlena Klopp, co-owner of Gunther’s, said, “(The booth is) going to show the picture of ‘Jugglin’ Joe’ and the neon sign, and when you stand in front of it, it will look like you’re standing in front of the store. All the activities are complimentary. We are selling the hot dogs. We want to make it inexpensive for the customers, and just (have) a day to come out and have a good time.”
During the event, the street will be closed on the north side of Gunther’s, and a large tent will extend on 3rd Avenue from Franklin Boulevard to 30th Street.
And as for the shop itself, business will be conducted as usual during the hours of this special gathering.
As a tribute to the past, the business’s employees will be dressed in Gunther’s attire that will be reminiscent of the business’s early years. The male employees will be wearing black pants, white shirts and black bow ties, while the female employees will be wearing dresses with black aprons.

Gunther’s history

In addition to celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend, Gunther’s also has the notoriety of being the city’s oldest continuously operating ice cream parlor.
According to information provided by the business’s owners, Gunther’s was opened in April 1940, and its original proprietors were German immigrant William H. “Pop” Gunther and his Kentucky-born wife, Iva Gunther.
Gunther’s originally operated in a 12-foot by 40-foot business space at 3003 Franklin Blvd., at 5th Avenue, and in December 1949, the business was relocated to its current site.
In a meeting with this publication last week, Marlena and her husband, Rick, discussed a variety of details about Gunther’s history and operations.
Marlena, who graduated from Bishop Manogue High School in 1977 and was married to Rick three years later, commented about the earliest years of Gunther’s, saying, “They had some great glory days there (at the original Gunther’s location). Back in 1940 when the Gunthers opened (their ice cream parlor), it was a booming business for them. It was before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But there was a time when they were down there (at that location) that the butter fat and the sugar ration was going on. There were days when they couldn’t even open that store (for) more than 10 days out of the month, because they couldn’t get the product. They still had the customers. People would just come in there and bombard them, kind of like they’re doing here (today). And so, when the rationing was lifted, they just started to boom again. And that’s when they decided to open a bigger store. This (present store location) was an empty lot and Mr. Gunther set his sights on this site.”
The business was later run under different proprietorships at various times.
After being asked how he became involved with Gunther’s, Rick said, “I got started in the ice cream business at Shasta Ice Cream. (At that time), they had a little shop over here (on 21st Street, near) Freeport Boulevard by the railroad tracks. I started working there in 1963 when I was 16. I was living in Hollywood Park at 5640 Helen Way. I graduated from McClatchy (High School) in 1965. (William H. Gunther’s son, Dick) Gunther died (at the age of 42 on March 15, 1967), and the guy who owned Shasta Ice Cream was an older gentleman (the aforementioned Wert Irwin). He was probably in his late 80s, so he wanted to close the place down. He told me to (seek employment at Gunther’s), because (Dick) Gunther died and they needed a manager. So, I came here (to Gunther’s) and started working here in 1969.
Rick eventually became a minority owner of Gunther’s, and then during the summer of 1974, he purchased the business outright.
And after purchasing the business, he acquired his first delivery truck. That truck, which has since been restored, will be present at Saturday’s event.
Marlena described Gunther’s as a much different place than it was when her husband acquired it.
“When (the Gunthers) moved down here (to its present location), they did very well until the freeway went in and divided the town,” Marlena said. “So, when Rick bought it, it was not a thriving business at all. But it has been built up since then.”
Although Gunther’s is presently a single location business, during part of its history, it had three other locations – 5001 Freeport Blvd., 1186 35th Ave. and 2870 Fulton Ave.
Gunther’s story would not be complete without references to some of its many edible offerings.
Included on the parlor’s menu are ice cream cones, sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, fruit freezes (regular or with ice cream), Hawaiian shaved ice, ice cream cakes and pies and a wide variety of dipped chocolate items.
In addition to its sugary treats, Gunther’s also serves a variety of sandwiches, and hot dogs and chili dogs.
Certainly, beyond its popular food, Gunther’s has a longtime positive reputation with many people in and outside of Sacramento, Marlene explained.
“The biggest thing is the loyalty of the people of Sacramento, and the people who have been in Sacramento and have come back,” Marlena said. “There are unbelievable stories. They’ll be going some place up north and going down south to go to Disneyland, and they will have to make this their stop. And we hear those stories all the time. Even if they’re not in Sacramento, they will always make their way back around (to Gunther’s).”
And in speaking about the future of Gunther’s Ice Cream, Marlena said, “We’re hoping we can take it past 100 (years), and I believe that there are people here that can take it there.”

A true sense of community: McKinley Park playground gets rebuilt with help from thousands

Volunteers young and old were having fun working hard in the spirit of giving back to McKinley Park at the community build of the playground. The youngest had played there when they were children and their elders remember the last community build 19 years ago.

The spirit of the community cannot be overstated. The community vowed to rebuild the playground and the community is doing it as we go to press.

From neighborhood lemonade stands to Sutter Health’s $50,000 donation and the countless fundraising events, the community build for the McKinley Playground is underway until Sunday 5 p.m., at which time a celebration will be had to thank all of the countless volunteers. A grand opening for the playground is set for June 27.

The East Sacramento Park, located at 601 Alhambra Blvd., was destroyed by an early morning fire on July 28, 2012. The fire took nearly two hours to fight. Firefighters battled flames nearly 60 feet high and a third of the playground, mostly, in the center, was destroyed.

Despite the heartache, the community came together, stayed together and grew to the thousands.

The build scene is now like an elaborate assembly line over at the playground– working westward from the east was the prep area, staging, prefab, construction and a place to eat at the far end.  The build crew has been working in three shifts, since Monday, June 3: 8 a.m. to noon, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Then there were those who had other skills besides building to donate their time with, including child care workers who watched the children of volunteers nearby; food service folks who donated and served food to the volunteers, artists who made elaborate animal sculptures. Some large companies like Intel had some of its staff volunteer four-hour shifts.

And not to mention before the community build even took place, a pre-build was underway since Mother’s Day, with Granite Construction, Teichart and Livingston who helped with concrete and rocks.

And then there’s the child care area, where volunteers there are trying to make it so much fun that the parents want to volunteer extra shifts with the build. They are going to have Python Ron visit, science lab experiments, a visit from Cinderella, Dinger on Saturday, Sparky, plants to garden donated from Talini’s Nursery, and even live performances by St. Francis grads. Acting on the green!

Some of the features that are going to make the new playground so much fun include a rock wall, the playhouse, trolley, steamboat, a big turtle to climb on, swings, an archway resembling the old Alhambra Theatre.  One of the big takeaways from community input in terms of design is that the new playground look like wood and be modern and accessible. A few of the downfalls with the old playground included poor visibility and frequent maintenance. The new playground should need less maintenance and have better visibility, officials have said.

“The minute the fire happened, we took a minute to grieve and move on and think about what to do,” said councilmember Steve Cohn, who was on the original build. He said they wanted to quickly form a committee.

His chief of staff Sue Brown took the helm and got the website up and soon after offers started coming in and a decision was needed to be made – to replace the entire thing with a community build or just rebuild the third of it that was damaged. Cohn said park staff said the playground would have needed to be rebuilt anyway or was it going to be the kind of playground you see all over – the kind build with metal and plastic. But the  consensus was that this is a very special playground. So kids helped in the design process and the committee took 9 out of 10of their recommendations.

Once the design and date was set, then the fundraising started, volunteers began helping out, and donations of equipment all started rolling in. “We wanted to get this done by summer,” Cohn said, which made the rebuild process just eight months, four months sooner than the suggestion from Play by Design’s that it take one year.

But in the end, everyone had the same goal to get the project done as quickly as possible. So volunteers and donors have been extremely flexible with their time and money to meet the committee’s needs schedule wise.

As of last week, organizers were still looking for volunteers to fill the evening shifts and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they are looking for artists to do decorative scrollwork to accompany a playhouse.

With Sutter’s most recent donation, the City will build new bathrooms to go next to the playground. The bathrooms, which are near the basketball courts, will likely be turned into a storage area.

Over the last few weeks, the playground has seen a good amount of site work. To prepare for the community build, concrete was laid and for a few days sticks poked out of the ground.

So what now? Any donations that will be made at this point will be saved for maintenance of the playground. Until Sunday, people are still needed for evening shifts. Artists are welcome to help out with some of the mosaic work or design of the rubber footing, which will be laid after Sunday.

Visit or the Facebook page for more updates.

Monkey bar sponsors ($1,000-$4,999)
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, AT&T, Bell Marine, Bosley Electric, Brian T. Wheat, Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, City of Sacramento Fire Department, Cory Hula, Correna Hula, Claire Hula, Day Wireless, Douglas P. Mitten, Downtown Ford, East Sacramento Improvement Association (ESIA), Eppie G. Johnson Family, Fahn Family (tire swing), Friends of Bertha Henschel, Friends of McKinley Library, Glenn Sorensen, Greg Geeting, Hyatt Regency Sacramento, IHOP, International Design and Technology, Lincoln Law School, Motion Textile, Inc., Residence Inn by Marriott, R. Michael Kirchner and Meghan Hayes, New Home Building Supply, SactoMoFo, Selland’s Market Café, Shine, Stanley Security, Supervisor Phil Serna, Ted Kappel, Uncle Vitos/Paesanos/Mangia, Volvo Rents, 36th Way Kids

Swing set sponsors (up to $999)
Aaron Meillich, Clark’s Corner, Golden Pacific Bank, Jamie Elverum, Joe and Marsha McCormick, Karolyn W. Simon, LarsenCazanis Public Affairs, Luther Family, Nestle Waters North America, Rebecca L. Sharad and David W. Pardee, Sacramento Women’s Action Network, Suzie Burger, Briggs Family, Clean Site Services; Connie, Sophie and Mack Emerson; Comstock Mortgage, Corey and Marguerite Brown and Family, COSTCO; David and Eva Nybo, Tony’s Fine Foods, Dean & Karen Wakefield, Deborah Gordon, East Sacramento Preservation, Inc., Eduardo E. Desmond, Firefighters Local 522, Francis Story, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Grosklos, Holloway Land Co., Jackie Miller, Jim and Joan Ferry, Jo Ann Pinotti, Jo Darlene Eaton, J Prassa Printers, JP Tindell, Judy Capaul, Koukla Kids, La Bombe Ice Cream Parlor, La Bou, Marjorie A. Trivedi, Maney-Hall Family, McDonald’s – 30th and K St., McKinley East Sacramento Neighborhood Association, Noah’s Bagels – 1901 J St., Nopalitos, One Speed, Opa Opa!, Pasty Shack, Rita Gibson Insurance & Investment Services, Inc., Sacramento Animal Hospital, Sacred Heart Parish School Student Council, Sanctuary Covenant Church, Shiren Miles, Sibyl N. McWalters, Speedpro Imaging, Starbucks – 65th St., Starbucks – 1901 J St., Swindel Family, Teresa Pearl Heath & Abe, Leilani and Jesse Potter, The Clubs of Shepard Garden and Arts Center, The Shack, Wells Fargo, Adrian and Inna Tysoe, Betsy Hitchcock & Gary Baldwin, Betty A. Harris, Bob and Jan Martinez, Brian Schmitt, Bruce Fairbanks, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burr’s Fountain, Café Bernardo, Carlos A. Urrutia, Carol Purin, Cherisse Knapp, Classique Catering, Connie J. Vinson, Denise Larscheid, Doughbots, Douglas Arnold, Dyan and Andy Carey, Ellison, Schneider & Harris, Elizabeth Campbell & Jeremy A. Lockwood, Event Architects, Faith United Methodist Church, Fedric M. Sauze, Gertrude L. Lowry, Girl Scouts of Central California, Grandma Vicki, Greg, Angie and Mina Sahnd, Harambee Porter, Ian Montgomery, J Dogs, Juan & Joelle Mendoza, Lea Washington, Lucca Ireland Porter, Mamma Susanna’s, Maria Kaufman, Mary Lacalle, Michael Hazlewood, Michelle Collins, Molly Wiese, Nancy & Ramesh Sawhney, Peet’s 36th & J, PEPSICO, Roxie Deli, Sacramento Bagel, Sacramento Police Officers Association, Sally M. McKeag, State Farm Insurance, SaveMart, Truman Burns, William Leddy, Radial Tire – West Sacramento, East Sacramento Soccer Club, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Sutterville Preschool, Talini’s Nursery, Goodwill Industries, Sacramento Zoo, Mad Science, Christopher’s Musical Marionettes

Brick by Brick sponsors

The Selland Family, Robert Lessler, Gina and David Crippen, Stephanie Bellotti, Boulevard Park Neighborhood Association, Julie and Todd Manley, Pollyanna LeVangie, Julieanne and Patrick Hinrichsen, Teresa Heath, Cindy McGirr, Katherine and Eli Groppo, Carole Purin, Linda Eldridge, Michael Griffith, Linda and Frank Parsons, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Bert & Vyola Rule, Sofi Meza, Elizabeth Fujii, Jane Howell, Kelli and Bruce Boehm, Kirsten and Matthew Okamoto, Kelly Ratliff, C.W. and L.R. Purcell, Kevin Smith, Jason Long, Caroline and Peter Detwiler, James Sherman, GSHCC Troop #4042, Stefanie and Michael Grinstead, Gregory White, Margo and Warren Fox, Janet and Kenny Pack, Barbour-Berson Family, Kate DiGrigorio, Jeanie Sayre, Beverly Sheehy, American Lutheran Church of the Cross, George Koufasimis, Mary Jane Coombs, Jennifer and Matthew Baldwin, Dana and Morgan Waters, David Wellner, Katherine G. Downey, Colleen and John Marsh, Elizabeth Campbell, Irma and Gary Balonek, Stuart Hill, Laura and Frank Brennan, Jan and Robert Martinez, Linda and William Mason, Nancy and Robert Graves, Betty and Jack Reuben, Matt Perry, Robert Kirchner, Michael Fahn, Karen Patterson, Kendal A. Chaney-Buttleman, Linda and Bil Sweeney, Acme Chiropractic, The West Family, Vicki Bermudez, Linda and Steven Gold, Aimee Moulin,  Erin Quinlan, Dr. Paul Phillips – East Sac Dental, Jolynn and Justin Mason, Jennifer and Brian Judy, Isabel and Alex Contreras, Patricia Dutra, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Jot and Kristen Condie, Kristin Daily, Michelle Collins, Gabriel Dutra, Heather Lopez, Richard Cable, G. Tyler Babcock, Geri O’Neil, Curt Grieve, Steve Swindel – Swindel Associates, Catherine Cerna, Robert Frickey, 20-30 Club, Michael O’Brien, Cecilia DeCuir, Sheila Wolfe, Girl Scout Troop #1684, Ruth Craft, Alex Garza, Tim Taylor, East Sac Self Storage, Alice Liu, Julie Bugatto, Stanley Cubanski and Sandra Shewry, Brad Harris, Gregory A. Lim, Hilary Creger, Christina Vaughan, La Bombe Ice Cream, Caro Marks, Kay Overman, Jan Gladfelter, Suzanne Milliesdottir, Pamel and Michael Burton, Jean and William Leland, Diane and Kenneth Wood, Victoria and Burt Presnell, Emilie and Jack Kashtan, Linda Johnston Panattoni Interiors, Carpenters Local Union 46, Michelle and Timothy Shestek, Mary Pauly, Lana Adlawan, Stefan Kreisl, Eileen Cubanski and David Gonzalves, Helen Hobart, Terry Luedtke, Kathryn O’Connell, Jeff Harris, Andre Catellier, John Home, Amy Gardner, Richard Ciraulo, Lela Bayley, Asha Jennings, Christina Wukmir, Sherry Wardzik, Dave Spradin, Ron Vrilakas, Fraternity Members of Alpha Phi Omega, Rita Gibson – Insurance & Investment Services, Inc., Sabitrea and Rafael Rodriguez, Barbara M. Andres and Cecil R. Taylor, Holly Aamir Deen, Harris and Mary Liu, Golden Arch Enterprises, Inc., Susan Matchell, Kelly and Maurice Herbelin-Farrar, Rachel K. Maney & Kristoffer M. Hall, Scott Smith, Carla and Steve Stuck, Laura Sperry, East Sacramento Preservation Task Force, Inc., Jeff Donlevy – Green I$ Good Recycling Industries, Catherine Travers and Steve Cohn, The Hastings Family, Bethany Stryker, Jennifer and Tom Aten, Lisa and Howard Schmidt, Maria Kaufman, The Diepenbrock Family, Kathy Lelevier, Cathy Taylor, Mary Margolis, Patty Wait, Dawn Waltz, Jennifer Shaw, Jorome Porter, Skye Foster, Ted Kappel, Mary Lee and Alan Moritz, Christina Vaughan, The Burton Family

Faces and Places: East Sacramento Little League parade

The East Sacramento Little League held opening day festivities on Sunday, March 10. According to their website, the day was marked by beautiful weather, great attendance, and lots of excitement for the upcoming season. Scores of families turned out for the celebration, which included team introductions, an appearance by Dinger from the River Cats, and a series of exhibition games.

Pocket Parade 2012 Photos

Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Sept. 24

Saturday, Sept. 24 will mark Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Celebration.

As it does every year, the Carmichael Recreation and Park District is putting together a party you won’t want to miss. It’s hard to see how they manage it, but the event just seems to get better every year.

From classic cars to arts & crafts to power horns and carnival games, the event will have a little something for everyone. Dignitaries, musicians and vendors will be “doing their thing” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The day kicks off with a delicious pancake breakfast hosted by the Fair Oaks Lions Club. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 11 and under.

The Classic Car Show starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. This year, the Cappuccino Cruisers car club is bringing their collection of classic autos to Founders’ Day. Check out the muscle cars of the 1960s and early ’70s, the classics of the ’50s, the flatheads of the ’40s, the gangster cars of the 1930s and the classic ‘tin lizzies’ of the teens and ’20s.

New to Founders’ Day this year is an Old-fashioned Country Fair. Like county fairs of old, this fair will feature competitions in art, textiles, food and more. If you win a competition, you have bragging rights for the next year that you are the BEST in Carmichael. Check-in is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Judging is at noon. To enter, contact the Cappuccino Cruisers (who are hosting the fair) at (916) 988-6376. There is an entry form available online at the Carmichael Park and Rec website:

The Carmichael Dog Park Society will host a Dog Parade and Show as a fundraiser to benefit the Carmichael Dog Park. Call (916) 422-2280 for details to enter your pooch in the parade. The Dog Parade and Show will start at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Founders’ Day is always a family friendly event so be sure to bring your children or grandchildren out so they can enjoy the many children’s activities. There will be a mini carnival, face painting, arts & crafts, clowns, an appearance by River Cats mascot Dinger and more – all free.

The shopping promises to be good at the vendor booths this year, also. Information booths, arts and crafts vendors, non-profit agencies and of course food vendors will be scattered around the Carmichael Park Band Shell to tempt you into shopping, eating and enjoying the day.

Live entertainment by the headlining band, Custom Neon, is sure to please.

For more information on Founders’ Day please call the Carmichael Recreation and Park District at (916) 485-5322 or visit The Carmichael Park Band Shell is located in the back of Carmichael Park at 5750 Grant Avenue and both parking and admission are free.

Calling all ‘Blue Thumbs’: Promoting landscape water efficiency

The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park that promotes landscape water efficiency in the Sacramento region.

The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger of the Sacramento River Cats. (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger of the Sacramento River Cats. (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The television and radio campaign stars Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger and Grounds Manager Chris Ralston of the Sacramento River Cats, Meteorologist Elissa Lynn of the state Department of Water Resources and six residents (one of whom is Land Park resident Sara Shultz) from throughout the Sacramento region who have earned their “Blue Thumb” by using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping.

With the Sacramento region’s hot, dry climate and long summer season, more than 65 percent of a household’s yearly water consumption typically goes toward landscape irrigation. Of that, 30 percent is lost due to overwatering or evaporation.

Recognized for using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping, Land Park residents Sara Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.” (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
Recognized for using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping, Land Park residents Sara Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.” (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The Regional Water Authority is conducting this campaign to inform residents that they can make a big difference in their total water use by making sure landscape irrigation is efficient and by eliminating runoff. Those are two of the most cost-effective ways to stretch our limited water supplies and ensure the region continues to have sufficient water for a healthy environment and economy in the Sacramento region.

The kick-off event for the new public service campaign was held at Sara Shultz’s Land Park home. Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.”

For more information on neighborhood water conservation, visit