The old adage, "You never miss the water 'til the well runs dry" certainly applies to the Pineapple Whip stand that's been a staple at the 4th of July Celebration carnival for nearly 28 years. But last year it wasn't here. And lots of people noticed. Many disappointed voices asked, "Where's the pineapple whip?"
"Last year when he wasn't here; I couldn't believe it," Whip fan Sue McFarlin said. "I walked all over the park looking for it. I was ready to tell the fair to leave."
James Thornburg started the business in 1966. The Shelbyville resident started out with only the pineapple whip which is a sherbet. In 1972 he added vanilla and chocolate soft serve ice cream.
He started coming to the July 4th celebration in Brazil 28 years ago. Son Danny Thornburg and his wife, Elayne, began helping James with the business in 1979.
But chronic knee pain took a toll on James. In November of 2002, he had bilateral knee replacement surgery. He was still recuperating throughout the summer and was unable to make the trip to Brazil last July.
Danny and Elayne bought the trailer. Many area citizens and Forest Park guests were ecstatic to learn that the pineapple whip is back!
As word got out about the return of the popular treat, delighted connoisseurs began flocking to the stand.
Brazil resident Allan Pleake said, "I get one every year. It's the only thing I come for. I was upset when they weren't here."
Local barber Terry Timberman echoed Pleake's sentiments. "If these guys weren't here, I wouldn't come to town."
About half the customers coming up to the stand expressed the disappointment they felt when they went to buy a pineapple whip last July.
"They wasn't here last year and I sure missed them," Marlene Rodgers said.
Pineapple whip is not ice cream. It's more like a soft serve sherbet. Danny and Elayne sell pineapple about 4-1 over the other flavors.
The whip is fat-free. While the Thornburgs don't know its calorie and carb count, they said pineapple whip is lower than the ice cream.
"It's non-dairy and more refreshing," Danny said. "We probably sell about 100-plus gallons of pineapple whip in the week we're here in Brazil."
"I've had it every year for I can't tell you how long," McFarlin said. "I plan to go over there a couple times this week to get some. To me, that just makes the celebration fun."