Rokeby Pie and Ice Cream Social News

Donna Fraser-Leary at the Rokeby Pie & Ice Cream Social in 2009

by Donna Fraser-Leary, Rokeby Museum Volunteer

Has the mention of pie and ice cream in Rokeby’s backyard got you pining for a taste? Sadly, you will have to wait until next summer, when Rokeby hopes to hold this classic event again, in the true spirit of a “Social.” Alternative ideas were considered, but the personal back-yard experience, which has been an integral part, would not have been possible this summer. We hope you will join us again for this perennial favorite in the summer of 2021.

Rokeby’s Pie and Ice Cream Social (PICS) has an interesting 35 year history. In 1985, when the Museum’s Association was faced with major and costly repairs to Rokeby’s buildings, the idea to hold the first PICS was born. Back then, stalwart members held a “Pie Bee” in the main house to put together most of the pies. The raw pies were then wrapped and frozen to be baked fresh the day before the Social. What a lovely time it was to chat while slicing fruit and rolling out pie crusts. One could imagine the many years food had been prepared and eaten in that very spot, and thus felt the essence of the Robinsons and all who had dwelt within the walls of their home. 

The Pie Social hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries, however. We’ve had years with crumbling pie crusts that would not roll out, made and baked pies in high heat and humidity, and puzzled over unlabeled mystery pies. There was a nearly disastrous freezer failure, which ruined a portion of the pre-made pies. 

Remarkably though, for most of those 35 years the sun has shone down upon us. The Social was relocated only once, to the basement of the Ferrisburgh United Methodist Church, because a thunder and wind storm was forecast and arrived in the late afternoon. It was the only year that the pie and ice cream savoring was not on-site, however the house tours were. Our volunteers are hardworking people with strong convictions who persevere above all else. With the legacy of the Robinson’s as our guidepost, what other way would there be? 


For Donna Fraser-Leary, her husband Dean Leary, and their children, the Pie & Ice Cream Social at Rokeby Museum — for many years — has been a family affair. Donna writes “When my husband and I moved back to this area, one of the first things Dean did was bring me to Rokeby. Stepping inside was like stepping back in time. It was love at first sight.” For over 35 years, Donna and Dean have been stalwart leaders ensuring the success of all things Rokeby — Donna as a tireless volunteer, and Dean serving many roles over the years, including as a Board Trustee, newsletter editor, and tour guide.

Pictured above: Donna Fraser-Leary at Rokeby’s Pie & Ice Cream Social in 2009.


Rokeby’s Pie and Ice Cream Social is a special event for the Leary family and the community as a whole. While there may be no pie for sale this summer, please consider a donation, if you can, to help us honor them and to make sure it comes back even stronger in 2021!

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Rokeby Museum’s Visitor Center and Historic Farm Buildings are open for the season.