Velvet Ice Cream celebrates a family legacy and the tradition of the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival

Marcy Rinehart of The Morning Thing talked with Luconda Dager, President of Velvet Ice Cream.

Click HERE to hear the full conversation.

She shared the rich family history of Velvet. She is part of the 4th generation leading the company.
Luconda shared the history of the Ye Olde Mill and the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival.
There are many exciting events coming this weekend for families to have fun!
They talked about ice cream eating contests, favorite flavors, and recipes, and that Velvet plans to serve around 5,500 gallons of ice cream this weekend at the festival!
Don’t miss the family fun this weekend in Utica!

Click HERE for the festival details.

Click HERE to connect with Velvet Ice Cream – check out the yummy recipes!

Click HERE for details on how you can win gift cards to Ye Olde Mill with WNZR!

Thanksgiving can be FUN!

If you are like us, you are finalizing all of your plans for Thanksgiving! It is coming next week!

The Morning Thing is here to help. This morning (11/18), we shared some Thanksgiving activities for the whole family. These fun ideas from will help you get the laughter flowing along with the holiday cheer. You can also make some memories and start some meaningful family traditions.

Check out the full list HERE.

Click HERE to see the Thanksgiving FUN ideas that we shared.

Click HERE to see and download the Thanksgiving Lunchbox Notes.

Click HERE to see and download the Holiday Helper Cards.

We also had some FUN sharing Thanksgiving Brain Teasers.

Click HERE to get the full list and start the laughter at your family gathering.

Click HERE to hear from the Big Blue Crew! 🙂

Johnny Appleseed Apple Fest comes to downtown Mount Vernon on Saturday 10/9

Anthony McNeal, Mount Vernon’s Downtown Manager talked with WNZR about the new event hosted by Main Street Mount Vernon. The Johnny Appleseed Apple Fest will be a fun family event with music, food and lots of activities.

Click HERE to hear the conversation.

Click HERE to see all the details of this exciting new event.

Come celebrate fall in downtown Mount Vernon on Saturday, 10/9 from 10 am – 2 pm.

First Friday is back! Join WNZR in downtown Mount Vernon tonight.

WNZR’s Marcy Rinehart talked with Downtown Manager, Anthony McNeal from Main Street Mount Vernon. They shared the exciting news about June First Friday and other events returning to downtown for 2021.

Click HERE to hear their entire discussion.

Topics discussed included:

  • How long Main Street Mount Vernon has been working and planning for tonight’s event
  • Main Street Mount Vernon’s mission and their connection to First Fridays
  • How Main Street Mount Vernon is approaching Covid protocols for tonight’s event
  • Changes coming to the “first” First Friday of the season?
  • The activities that are coming back from previous years
  • Theme for June First Friday
  • FOOD! Where to find it and what is on the menu for June First Friday
  • Activities for kids
  • Parking
  • Thanks to the wonderful sponsors for tonight and how they are helping to cover the cost of June First Friday
  • Previews for the next 3 First Fridays – July, August, and September?
  • Preview of other events that Main Street Mount Vernon is working on for 2021
  • How local businesses and individuals can get connected to Main Street Mount Vernon and become investors
  • How to stay up to date on the calendar of events

Stay connected to Main Street Mount Vernon HERE.

Encouragement for Families – FUN family activities for the weekend

It’s a Week of Encouragement on The Morning Thing. Today (8/27), we took the encouragement to the family.

We shared some fun family activities you can try out on a weekend.
We all know that this school year is going to be different.
We hope that these ideas can help you plan some special weekend activities to keep your family encouraged throughout the week.  

Check out these 14 Fun Weekend Family Activities from
Click HERE to see the list. Some of these activities will have restrictions because of Covid-19.

1. High School Sporting Event

Go to a local high school football, basketball or any other game. Games will usually cost anywhere up to $5 and are sometimes even free for kids! To make this even more fun, collect plastic bottles and any cardboard/poster board to make signs and noisemakers to cheer your team on.

2. Mystery Trip

Take the kids on a mystery trip. Give them clues about your destination as you get closer. It can be something as simple as an ice cream shop or a playground, or a trip to a museum or amusement park. The possible destinations are endless—just make it a surprise!

3. Family Theater

Put your child in the spotlight and put on a family play. You can make this as simple or detailed as you want by creating costumes, props, tickets, and maybe even some yummy refreshments. This is also a great opportunity to record a home video!

4. The Family Restaurant

Let your children prepare a meal and serve it to you and your husband restaurant style. This is a great way for them to have fun in the kitchen and a memorable experience for everyone!

5. Gardening 101

Plant flowers (indoors in a flower pot or outside). Let your child pick out what kind of flower he or she wants to plant and teach them how to take care of it.

6. Be Our Guest

Get to know the family of one of your child’s friends by having the family over for a cookout.

7. Picture Perfect

Let your kids take photos, print them, and make a photo album—then have the kids think of captions. Photo albums are easy, fun, and serve as a great keepsake!

8. Scavenger Hunt

Have a fun, free scavenger hunt. You can make up fun clues and even have a prize at the end! If you aren’t too sure where to start, look up some ideas on the internet to get you going.

9. Bike Ride

Go on a bike ride that ends with a picnic. Map your route before you leave, choosing new and interesting destinations each week. This day will be full of fun, food, and great exercise!

10. Spa Day (girls only!)

Have a spa hour—paint each other’s nails, do your hair, and let them put makeup on you. To make your spa day even better, wear bathrobes and put on some soothing tunes!

11. Obstacle Course

Build an obstacle course and let each family member compete for the best time. You can even make certificates or medals for everyone.

12. Garage Sale

Have a garage sale and let your kids decide how to spend the proceeds on a family day. Who says you can’t have fun and tidy up the garage at the same time?

13. Secret Serving

Plan a secret surprise for someone in need. For example, cook a meal for someone or mow their lawn without them knowing who did it.

14. Backyard Camping

Tell ghost stories, look at the stars, and enjoy some yummy s’mores all in the comfort of your very own backyard.

We also shared some ideas for some Family Summer Activity Alternatives During Covid-19 from
Click HERE to see the full list.
Even though summer is wrapping up, you can still get some great ideas from this list.

When You Can’t Visit the Pool 

  • Use a lawn sprinkler. Provided you have yard space, go old-school, and haul out a lawn sprinkler for kids to run around in. You might even get the urge and run through it yourself.
  • Get a kiddie pool. It may not be the height of luxury, but in a pinch, an inexpensive kiddie pool is better than nothing! Cool off in one of these refillable plastic shells. 
  • Have a squirt gun fight. Sometimes you don’t feel like taking the whole plunge into a pool, anyway. Spritz each other with squirt guns instead.
  • Go to a lake. Pools may be off-limits, but many lakes are still open for public swimming. If there are lakes in your area, be sure check their current swimming restrictions before heading out.

When You Can’t Go on Vacation 

  • Camp in the backyard. Roast marshmallows, tell spooky stories, and spend the night under the stars—right in your own backyard. 
  • Take a culinary “vacation.” Can’t travel the world? Bring the flavors of far-flung cuisines to your home kitchen. Once a week, try a new recipe from a place you’d like to visit someday, like tuna poke bowls from Hawaii, spiced swordfish from the Mediterranean, or a Chinese chicken wonton soup.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors. After months of quarantine, we could all probably use more fresh air. Have a picnic, take a hike, or go for a scenic drive. 
  • Make it a staycationYour very own hometown (or one close by) can be a surprising source of interest and fun. Make a list of the popular attractions in your area you’ve never visited—or the ones you’ve visited and loved. See how many of them you can hit this summer. If budget allows, book a stay at a local hotel where you can leave daily stressors behind and simply relax.
  • Take advantage of virtual tours. Famous sites and world-class museums all over the world have jumped on the virtual bandwagon during Covid-19. Destinations like the battlefields at Gettysburgthe Louvre, and the Smithsonian now have tours available online. Take an educational “trip” as a family to any of these bucket list attractions.

When You Can’t Have a Party

  • Take your party online. A successful online party needs an activity. (Otherwise, it’s just awkward.) Recruit your friends for a gathering with a definite agenda, like trivia night or talent show, via a video chat platform.
  • Take your party outside. The great outdoors certainly simplify social distancing. Meet with friends in a park for a potluck with plenty of space, or sit six feet apart around a fire pit in the driveway. 
  • Make it a family affair. Had to cancel your annual summer luau or Fourth of July bash? Have a themed “party” with immediate family instead. Scrounge up some costumes and pair a themed menu to the occasion.
  • Have a parade. A birthday boy or girl deserves to feel special! When a party isn’t possible, enlist friends and family to drive by in a celebratory parade.


  • Bring on the board games. Large-group games may be out of the question at the moment, but board games are still on the table (figuratively and literally). This classic family pastime has a hidden benefit: Board games can be good for kids’ linguistic, cognitive, and social development.
  • Get kitchen-savvy. If there’s one skill your child will always use, it’s cooking. Check out our guide for creating age-appropriate roles for kids in the kitchen.
  • Try a science experiment. Everyday household items like baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring are fair game for science experiments for kids of any age. Find your next project on websites like Science Fun and Science Bob
  • Schedule a virtual show and tell. Young kids love to show off their favorite stuff—a fact quarantine won’t change. To let your child take pride in their special possessions, set up a time they can video chat with a friend for a virtual show and tell. 
  • Dive into arts and crafts. You don’t have to be a creative master to help your kids enjoy arts and crafts. Search projects appropriate to your child’s age on Youtube or Pinterest. 
  • Plan a scavenger hunt. Who doesn’t enjoy a scavenger hunt? Create your own list of items for kids to find around the house, then set them loose to search for a pink sock, a measuring spoon, a jingle bell, or other simple objects. 
  • Play dress-up. An outfit of Mom’s high heels, Dad’s ties, and a silly hat? Why not? Playing dress-up is an age-old, cost-free go-to for little ones.
  • Crack open a good book. To motivate kids to read, find out if your local library is offering a distanced summer reading program for kids. Or, if audiobooks are your child’s preference, tune in to Librivox, which features thousands of classics in the public domain for free. Audible, too, is offering many kids’ titles for free as long as schools are closed.
  • Go to a drive-in. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of drive-in movie theaters around the country have been doing a booming business. Catch the mid-century vibe by checking one out. 
  • Read, then watch. Which was better, the book or the movie? Find out by reading a book as a family, then watching the movie. 
  • Get a genre. A special theme makes everything more fun. As a family, make a plan to watch all of a certain type of movie over the summer—perhaps all the Disney princess movies, all the Harry Potter movies, or favorite ‘60s musicals.
  • Have a virtual movie night. Apps like Netflix Partyand Metastreamoffer a new way to watch movies with friends. By synching your video play and adding a group chat, you can watch “together” from a distance.

Make Your Morning Sunny Side Up With These Egg Recipes!

The Morning Thing got hungry this morning sharing an abundance of delicious egg recipes. Marcy & Lexie got the chance to enjoy sharing these tasty treats and reminiscing on foods they ate from years ago! Find a recipe to remember for generations HERE

June First Friday is tonight in downtown Mount Vernon!

june first friday 2016-01

WNZR’s Daria Swisher talked with Carrie Hyman about June First Friday. Carrie is the Executive Director of Main Street Mount Vernon.
Click HERE to hear their conversation.

Look for Big Blue on South Main Street near the Grand Hotel down from the square! Stop by and register to win a special “Shape Up, Clean Up, Drink Up and Dress Up” prize basket featuring:

  • One 8-week kids Zumba session and One adult punch card for 8 Zumba classes from Zumba with Teresa and Lisa (Valued at $90)
  • An entire house cleaning from Carefree Cleaning Company. Amy Kessler gives you 4 hours of house cleaning! (Valued at $100)!
  • One $25 gift certificate from Happy Bean Coffee Shop
  • One $15 gift certificate for Premier Designs Jewelry with Amberly Frye

Plus WNZR goodies including an “On the Road with Big Blue” T-shirt, NIV Bible, coasters, cups, keychains, jar openers Frisbee, guitar flyswatter, magnets and more! The prize package is valued at over $230!

 First Friday events are from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Mount Vernon. Main Street Mount Vernon will kick off the year with June First Friday’s “Summer Celebration.” There will be Kids’ Entertainment and family-friendly activities on the Public Square with the Mount Vernon YMCA, Sting Soccer, MTVarts and Knox County 4-H. You won’t want to miss the petting zoo by Hobby Horse Hill or face painting by Mount Vernon’s First Church of the Nazarene!

Click HERE to see a complete list of activities.

Please click here to check out the finalized map for June First Friday.  If you have questions, please contact Carrie,  See you tonight!


June First Friday is tonight in downtown Mount Vernon!

june first friday 2016-01

WNZR is honored to partner with Main Street Mount Vernon for June First Friday.

Downtown Mount Vernon will be busy with activities tonight (6/2) for June First Friday.

Look for Big Blue near the public square.
Stop by and register to win a special “Clean Up and Dress Up” prize basket for the family featuring:

  • An entire house cleaning from Carefree Cleaning Company. Amy Kessler gives you 4 hours of house cleaning! (Valued at $100)!
  • Two $15.00 gift certificates for Premier Designs Jewelry with Amberly Frye
  • Plus WNZR goodies including an “On the Road with Big Blue t-shirt, jar openers, keychains, candy jar, Frisbee, guitar flyswatter and more! The prize package is valued at over $135!

First Friday events are from 6 to 9pm in downtown Mount Vernon. The family-friendly activities include balloon sculptor Rex Naylor, corn hole, a classic car cruise-in and music from Kokosing River Surf Club on the public square stage.

WNZR R.E.A.L. (Rachel Rinehart, Eddie Dilts and Lilly Buckley) will perform at the south stage – MVNU’s Buchwald Plaza Gazebo.

Click HERE to hear a conversation with Rachel, Eddie and Lilly.

Other activities include:

– The America Red Cross Centennial (100th) Anniversary Celebration. Enjoy a slice of the anniversary cake on the Public Square. Pick up displays and information on the Red Cross at their table. Talk with current volunteers to learn more about our local American Red Cross of Knox County. Activities and giveaways will be available for kids.

– “Water Works” exhibit at MVNU’s Schnormeier Gallery. Artist Barry Gunderson imagines key moments of his life in relation to specific bodies of water and the metaphors that arise from each. The show continues until 6/23.

– Food vendors on the square

It is family fun at Mount Vernon’s First Friday presented by the Heritage Center Association – an Ohio Main Street program.

Traffic will be closed one block north of the Public Square, around the Square and on South Main Street down to Ohio Avenue starting at 4:30 p.m. (on Friday 5/5). (Gambier Street will remain open). Rain location for the band is the CA & C Depot at 501 South Main Street. If you have questions, please contact Brianna Cooper-Risser, Executive Director, at 740-393-1481. More details about First Friday can be found at

The mission of Main Street Mount Vernon is to create and enhance the economic, historic and social development of the central business district and downtown Mount Vernon. First Fridays are held the first Friday of each month May through October.

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