You remember the movie "American Graffiti."

“Where were you in 62?”

Teenagers riding around town in cool cars. Casing their favorite hamburger joint.

“Boy meets girl, and girl meets boy.”  - The Tams

Those scenes will be remembered and recreated on Saturday, April 27, at Blue Bell Central Park in downtown Sylacauga. Teens of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s will gather now as they did then.

Then, the gathering place was The Frosty Inn, a root beer and hamburger joint on what was then U.S. Highway 280. The highway was later rerouted from in-town Fort Williams Street to a four-lane west of town. But the Frosty Inn stayed into the 1980s.

Yutes from Sylacauga, Alex City, Goodwater, Childersburg, Talladega, Fayetteville, Shelby County, Clay County, Winterboro, Socapatoy and anywhere in driving distance headed to “The Frosty” many weekend nights and sometimes during the week. It was the designated gathering place for your old friends and to meet new friends. Many a romance and a few marriages started at The Frosty.

It was a safe environment. Was there trouble? Only a very little, and nothing like the trouble we hear of nowadays. A very occasional fistfight – no guns. A little beer (though not allowed) – either no marijuana or else well-hidden. A little showoff driving. Mostly just all-American fun.

There is now a marble plaque where The Frosty Inn once stood. It succinctly tells the story:

Once there was a place of fun and safety. Where lifelong friendships were made. Victories celebrated. Losses consoled and newcomers welcomed. That place was The Frosty Inn, located on this site during the 1960s and 70s. Thanks to Catherine and Frank McCaa for treating us like family and providing a place to spend the wonderful days and nights of our youth.

“See you at the Frosty.”

That salutation, “See you at the Frosty,” was a calling card for the yutes of that era. You still can occasionally hear one of them say to another, “See you at the Frosty.” Since the inn is no longer there, that just means that they will be at the annual Frosty Inn Reunion and expect the others to grace the occasion with their presence.

That plaque was envisioned, paid for and created by these same ex-yutes in the earlier years of The Frosty Inn Reunion. It is a local tradition, a part of history that the supporters of the reunion refuse to let die.

Frostyplacque Alabama News
Plaque commemorating The Frosty Inn. Facebook

The official mother of the Frosty Inn was Catherine McCaa. She and husband Frank started, owned and ran the Frosty. During the day, they served as surrogate parents for dozens – maybe hundreds – of teenagers who grew up in the parking lot of The Frosty. There was no inside seating, so everyone was an equal in the surrounding lot. The McCaas dispensed advice, admonitions and encouragement in addition to hamburgers and quite tingly root beer.

Mrs. McCaa herself came to the Frosty reunions and served as Grand Marshall when they used to have a parade around the former Frosty site (now a Sonic) and around the block-away Dairy Queen, which was the route that yutes would drive incessantly.

Mrs. McCaa continued to grace the gathering with her presence until her death at age 98 in 2021. Now, her son Duke McCaa represents the family. He too was a yute of the era. The Frosty era.

Those yutes are now aged 60s and 70s. A few 80s and 50s. They will become teenagers again on Saturday, April 27 from 10:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m. – come and go. In and out, just like at the old Frosty Inn. Casual dress, just like then.

Will we see any madras shirts, peddle pushers, penny loafers or bell bottoms? Maybe a few. There would be more, but the actual clothes they wore in that era seem to have shrunk, and the former yutes cannot get into them. This is not a costume party, but some have not changed their style much and some will go retro. Most just in jeans.

Blue Bell Central Park is located at 470 North Norton, right across from the classic-looking entrance to the famous Blue Bell Ice Cream plant. Except for the pavilion, it is an outdoor venue.

There is no entry fee to get into the reunion. No ticket or RSVP are required. Just like at the old Frosty. Just show up.

And bring your appetite. Don’t eat lunch before you come. There will be FREE food there. That’s a difference with the old Frosty, which charged cheap prices for their good food.

Music will be provided by retired DJ Barry McAnnally, who had been a radio personality in the Birmingham market in the 60s and 70s under the radio names, “Joey Roberts” and “Bob Barry.”  You may remember his smooth voice from WSGN, WYDE, WMLS and other stations. You will remember all of the great music you grew up with.

“See you at the Frosty.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler writes about Alabama’s people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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