The Nutty Bar Stand has been a local treasure in the city of Arnolds Park, Iowa since it was established in 1945. Located just outside of Arnolds Park Amusement Park and only a couple hundred yards away from the shore of a lake, there lies the small ice cream shop that has become favorite among so many. They offer rootbeer and rainbow (made with Mello Yellow soda and rainbow sherbet) floats, sundaes, and frozen bananas. They also offer limited versions of their signature snack, The Nutty Bar which is already a fun treat because of the peanut topping on the chocolate-coated ice cream. Their most recent limited version changed their peanuts to Snickers, eliciting praise from customers on their Facebook page for the new bar.
The Nutty Bar Stand is primarily staffed by high school and college students and operates on a seasonal schedule. In the summer, when families return to the cluster of lakes for vacations and to spend time in summer homes, The Nutty Bar Stand is open every day of the week. During the fall, the store closes during the weekdays and is open on the weekends, closing down for the season at the end of September. They start preparing for the summer season starting in April, with an opening date in late May. However, due to the staff being students, the start of the season often has limited hours to account for schools getting off for the summer at different times.
Every summer, my entire extended family goes to Okoboji, one of the neighboring towns, to celebrate the Fourth of July at my grandparent’s lake house. One of the ‘requirements’ my family has for this annual vacation is a trip to The Nutty Bar Stand. When the weather permits, we take the boat for a cruise, following the shoreline of the lake and seeing what houses have changed since the previous year, and enjoying the time spent outside with family. We would often run into one of our sailing school friends working behind the counter, taking the time to catch up on life outside of sailing school and current plans for the upcoming months.
Okoboji and Arnold’s Park are great towns for a summer vacation, with plenty of lake activities available and beaches to cool off from the summer heat. While there are many other places worth visiting in the small towns lining the chain of lakes, The Nutty Bar Stand remains my favorite place to go during the summer. If you are ever looking for a lake to visit, and ice cream treats with a view of fireworks over the water, then The Nutty Bar Stand is for you.