Seashore Trolley Museum recently wrapped its 2021 Ice Cream Night events, held every Wednesday in July and August. Traditionally, the event is a fundraiser for the museum’s general operating budget, but this season the museum wanted to pay it forward.

Eight nonprofit organizations were the beneficiaries of this summer’s series of Ice Cream Night events hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum. Courtesy photo

Due to pandemic conditions that all nonprofits have had to adapt and overcome, Seashore Trolley Museum selected one nonprofit to receive 50 percent of the proceeds at each of the eight Ice Cream Nights. The benefiting nonprofits in 2021 were Southern Maine United Way, Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, York County Habitat for Humanity, Rotary Club of Kennebunk, The Center (Kennebunk), Kennebunk Free Library, Arundel Conservation Trust and Kennebunkport Parks and Recreation.

“We wanted the event to be as easy for the participating nonprofits as possible,” said Katie Orlando, executive director, in a news release. “All they had to do was to promote their specific event to their network of supporters. What ended up happening was even more remarkable.”

The eight nonprofits each decided to take it one step further, sending staff and volunteers to support the museum’s staff and volunteers at the events. Seashore and partner nonprofits were seen scooping ice cream together and greeting all guests.

“At many of the events, the nonprofits brought a whole team of volunteers, dressed in their apparel. And they were promoting both of our organizations. It was really inspiring,” Orlando said. “The Biddeford Walmart also donated 25 gallons of ice cream to support the event.”

Courtesy photo

The museum donated more than $4,000 to the partner nonprofits and is looking forward to hosting the event using the same format in 2022. The trolley museum announced plans to add a ninth event, as there are nine Wednesdays in July and August next year.

“We are already starting to solicit corporate sponsorships so that next year we can donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the nonprofit partners,” Orlando said.

Even though the museum went forward with the event, they still anticipate a $91,000 revenue loss in 2021, due to losses in admission from the tour bus industry and youth and school groups not yet returning in full.

“Even though we know we’ll most likely end the year in the red, holding this event and supporting these eight nonprofits was still very important to us,” said Orlando in an email. “All of the local nonprofits have navigated through tremendous challenges during the pandemic. We want to show the community that we stand with them. That we are a resource for the three towns our 350-acre campus is located in – Kennebunkport, Arundel and Biddeford – and our neighbor Kennebunk. And that without the support of these towns over our 82 years of history, Seashore Trolley Museum would not be surviving and thriving today.”

Seashore Trolley Museum remains open on a reduced schedule, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, through Halloween, and hopes to host four weekends of holiday events in December. The museum is hosting more special events this fall, including Pumpkin Patch Trolley (Fridays through Sundays from Sept. 24 through Oct. 10 and Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Trolleyween (Oct.29-31). Tickets may be purchased at trolleymuseum.eventbrite.com.

Face coverings are required on operating trolleys for all guests, ages 5 and older. Guests may request to be boarded on trolleys with physically distancing in place. For more information about the COVID-19 policies in place, visit http://trolleymuseum.org.

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