Those driving down Geer Road in Turlock this summer may see the unusual sight of a snowball fight. No, there’s not a freak atmospheric condition that turns this part of the Central Valley into a frozen wonderland, but rather the doings of one business owner.
Heaven Snow owner Violet Irasava believes that fun is an important part of running both her Ceres and Turlock shaved ice shacks.
“You have to stay focused on your customers,” said Irasava.
It was while seeing how the heat of the summer day was bringing down her youngest customers that she decided to pep them up with a little ice. The snowball fights usually go something like this: A group of kids stand in a circle each holding their ration of “ammunition” (balls of fluffy shaved ice). When Irasava says “go” the frozen fun begins.
“Putting smiles on their faces, that makes my day,” she said.
Adult patrons of Heaven Snow are not immune to a little frozen fun.
“Sometimes we’ll ask a customer if this is their first time here. If they say ‘yes’ then we throw a little ice on them,” said Irasava with a laugh.
Heaven Snow has plenty of ice to go around. Just one of the shaved ice shack locations goes through around 40 blocks of ice a day, more when the temperature rises. Although only open from late spring through the end of summer, Heaven Snow is a popular place to get a frosty sweet treat.
The Turlock location with its iconic pink and white painted shack, features an umbrella shaded seating area, special bean bag chairs for youngsters, and a karaoke system. At night the shaved ice shack is easy to spot because it’s adorned with LED lit colored squares that also serve as playthings for curious toddlers.
On “Fun Fridays” throughout the summer, at alternating locations, kids may get a chance to meet their favorite cartoon character. Sponge Bob, Hello Kitty and the gang from “Toy Story” have all visited Heaven Snow.
Late Tuesday night, Kristin Marelia and Demil Yousefbadal made a stop at Heaven Snow to pick up treats for them and their friends. Their flavor of choice: Mexican Explosion. This is made with a heaping helping of mango flavored shaved ice, some Tajin Chamoy (a sauce made up of chilis, lime, salt and apricot), and topped with chunks of mango.
“It just sounded so good,” said Marelia about her frozen treat.
Another customer favorite, according to Irasava, is the Sour Apple Caramel Drizzle. This treat starts with sour apple flavored shaved ice and then is drenched in caramel sauce and is served with the lollipop of the same flavors that inspired this creation.
Heaven Snow has over 40 flavors of shaved ice and offers sugar free flavors. Those stopping by the Ceres location can also order a blended iced coffee — made with shaved, not crushed ice — or a fruit smoothie.
No matter what flavor is ordered, it is sure to come with a dose of frozen fun, if Irasava has anything to say about it.
“I love what I do. Every morning I wake up and thank God I have enough energy to play with these kids and have fun,” she said.