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By Jean Lotus
News spread like lightning Thursday through south Oak Park on the playgrounds and through the Internet: Hole in the Wall is open a day early! Opening Day at the frozen custard stand at 901 ½ S. Oak Park Ave. is a harbinger of spring south of the expressway.
Owner Jane Ganz switched on the neon OPEN sign a day early after temperatures reached 81 degrees.
Friday, the crowds were still thronging to the converted gangway between two buildings (that's why the address is 901½) where chocolate-smothered sundaes and dip-topped cones were flying out the door.
The shop has been in business for 60 years and Ganz has owned it for more than a decade.
"We have the bus crowd, the pool crowd and the after school crowd," she told young reporters from Oak Park's Kidz Newz last summer. There's no seating, so ice-cream covered children perch on curbs, benches and in doorways.
Ganz closes shop every October to visit grandbabies in Texas. Throughout the winter, children and adults peep into the windows looking for signs of life. In February a sign appeared in the window: "Open March 16."
The shop also sells hot dogs and other lunch fare, but today when school dismissed, it was ice cream they wanted -- and customers lined up down the block.
Contributing reporters: Cole Tamongdon, Mary Lotus and Kidz Newz staff.