Welcome to the Kent's
Ice Cream, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin website. We handmake a popular ice cream product called the BIG BAR and vend them at various
events mainly in Wisconsin. Yes, this is still the Kent's Ice Cream that began in Fort Atkinson in 1941. We still use
old fashioned recipes and very high quality ingredients. Not much tastes like it used to 30 years ago - except
a BIG BAR!
NOTE: We had a quick parking lot sale for what was left after the Fall Jefferson swap meet on September
30th. It is sad when we know we have no more big bars to "check quality control" with, but it happens every
year, it just makes us anticipate the next season when we start production again. Thank you!
We have been posting a notice on our trailers this year that we are cutting our event schedule
back for 2016 and we may begin the search for the next dedicated 'caretakers' for the Big Bar. We love the business
and, more importantly, love the regular customers we have gotten to know over the years. We still have plenty of
passion for what we do, but there comes a time when we have to slow the pace down a little. As the current
'caretakers' of the Big Bar tradition, we know it is our responsibility to find someone to continue its tradition when it
comes time for us to let it go. After all, we want you to be able to buy a Big Bar at your favorite shows long
after we no longer are making them. We felt by putting the word out early, there may be a loyal customer who wants to
be the next 'caretaker' someday down the road. That is how we jumped in 17 years ago.
When we found out at Fall Jefferson 1999 that the original Big Bar owners wanted to retire, we knew
nothing about how they were made, how they were marketed or even where they were made. We met with the owners and
found out we would have to leave our beloved UP home and sell our collector cars if we wanted to be the next generation to
keep the Big Bar tradition going. The business came with a building that was (and still is) a registered dairy plant
and doubled as the owners home with a large apartment above the production area (it has been our home for all 17 years as
well). It was a difficult move for us, but we were 'all in' and looked forward to a new, exciting adventure - and
that is exactly what we have experienced in the years we have owned Kent's Ice Cream. We would not change
Do not worry, if we do not find the next caretakers right
away, we will return for our 18th year!
Above is our latest crazy venture. Our building is a rather
bland, vinyl sided old place, but has a lot of traffic go by. So, what started as putting up a 1934 Gulf gas station
sign on a post has become an obsession to cover the visible portions of our building with old advertising signs to give it
a little more appeal (at least to us anyway). There are signs for gas & oil, auto, tractors & implements,
soda, seed and construction equipment included. A few years ago, this form of art would have been frowned upon, but
advertising signage has become mainstream enough for many to appreciate the history involved with them. We keep an eye
open for old, beat up signs to add to the building at all the events we attend.
This is the building we hand make each big bar. It also doubles as our
place of residence. It is a throwback to the days when many family owned businesses were also where these folks lived.
There are still several businesses in our town doing the same thing. Not only is this the main reason we have been able
to keep an old business alive, but the hours spent working during our season make it necessary to have our living quarters right
up on top of the production area.
Here is a group of regular big bar customers having a great time
at the Jefferson Swap Meet!
Above is a photo taken of the September Jones Park cruise night where
the bulk of the classics parked on the ball field. They looked great under the lights! More photos are on the
cruise night page.
The above photo was taken
of a great group of car guys and gals that stopped at the Big Bar factory on their way to the Dells show in May 2015.
Thanks to Mark & Jackie for putting it together for their group. They all got a quick tour (sorry, we were not in
production that day) and, of course, their favorite big bar!
Kent's Ice Cream,
916 Madison Avenue
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Above shows Lauren, a good friend, who has helped us at some
events and loves the bars. She decided to put a big bar bumper sticker on her car - we could not resist posting it here.
Here's an enterprising young man hauling parts at a past Jefferson
Swap Meet in September. Note the date on the photo. This young man came to our trailer this year at the Fall Jefferson
Swap Meet and he out of college already! Sorry this photo has been here so long, but it is one of our personal favorites
from all the years we have been doing this.