Tornado spoils the fun at ice cream-eating contest

Published 11:10 am Friday, June 18, 2010

As the tornado sirens sounded, what had been scheduled as a fun, summer night at the ice cream-eating contest at Coldstone Creamery suddenly turned into a frantic effort to get everyone under shelter as quickly as possible.

Employees of the creamery stood outside the door, ushering any travelers inside. One of those employees was Josselyn Hill, who maintained her composure in order to get everyone from outside into the relative safety of the Trail’s Travel Center.

Throughout the city, travelers and residents were taking shelter in their homes or nearby businesses. The Schwingler family from Lake Elmo, a suburb of St. Paul, was traveling through the area when the storm hit. John Schwingler, his wife and three children were instructed to get off the interstate and into the nearest business, which happened to be the Hy-Vee grocery store.

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“We were just passing through and figured we better get off the road,” Schwingler said.

Although the possibility of danger was real, some caught in the storm were content to watch from behind the safety of business windows or under awnings. Employees and customers from Applebees Bar & Grill stood outside the store to get a better view of forming tornados. Although employees of the business had customers take precautions, the restaurant was still open for business.

“It’s fun,” Schwingler said. “It’s our first tornado.”