During the final week of the school year in June, there aren’t likely two more popular people in Southern Marin than Michael “Woody” Woodson and his son Brian.

That’s when their Woody’s Yogurt Place in Strawberry Village hosts “ice cream socials” at Strawberry Point, Edna and Reed elementary schools as well as St. Hilary School and Ring Mountain Day School. For the uninitiated, Woody’s provides enough free ice cream for the entire student body of each school, which runs the gamut from a few dozen at Ring Mountain to more than 600 at Edna Maguire, and parent volunteer scoopers serve it up.

​Needless to say, for many of those kids, Woody’s then becomes the must-visit spot for frozen treats for the rest of the summer and beyond.

“It’s a mad deluge of kids descending upon the parents scooping the ice cream, and every drop is gone by the end,” Brian Woodson says.

While the ice cream socials began seven years ago, Woody’s has been a fixture in Strawberry for 16 years in a space that has been home to ice cream and sweet treats for more than 50 years.

Michael Woodson had work in the financial and real estate industries over the years, and in the late 1990s, he was looking for a way to work closer to his aging mother, who lived in Tiburon. Woodson’s mother suggested he fill the void of ice cream shops in Tiburon, and he opened Woody’s in 1998 in the Main Street building that houses Waypoint Pizza right near the ferry dock.

Woody’s moved to Strawberry two years later, spurred by Tiburon’s then-quiet downtown and the Angel Island Cafe’s decision to start selling ice cream and frozen yogurt. “They saw how many people who were getting off the ferry with our frozen yogurt and ice cream,” Brian Woodson says with a laugh.

The move was also spurred by an impromptu chat Woodson had at Marin Joe’s with the then-owners of Ultimate Yogurt & More in the Strawberry Village space Woody’s later occupied. “They wanted to get out of the business, and over a few months, we agreed to buy them out, and changed the name to Woody’s,” Woodson says, noting that while Ultimate Yogurt & More preceded them in the space for 11 years, Village Sweet Shop (1964-1977), Bud’s Ice Cream (1977-1982) and Barbary Coast Ice Cream (1982-1989) came before them.

In a crowded marketplace of frozen treat shops in the 94941, Woody’s boasts a diverse array of products, from Dannon Yo Cream Frozen Yogurt and Dreyers Ice Cream to Mr. Smith’s Frozen Custard and Wow Cow low calorie dessert.

For Brian and Michael Woodson, the ice cream socials perfectly reflect Woody’s connection to the community via school and sports team fundraisers and having employed more than 250 local students over the years.

“It’s the best idea my dad has ever come up with, and everybody loves it,” Woodson says.

The 411: Woody’s Yogurt Place is at 802 Strawberry Village, on the back side of the building that contains The Plant Cafe Organic. It’s open Sunday-Thursday, 11:30am–9pm, Friday-Saturday, 11:30am–10pm. More info.

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