Even on a cloudy day, the Savage Sno-Cone Shack serves up the favorite tastes of the town -- 30 snowball flavors as sweet and punchy as their fanciful names.
But these days, the local fixture looks more like a spiffy miniature home, the old wood and metal shack replaced by a 12-by-12-foot building with vinyl siding, a shingle roof, ceramic tile flooring and a ceiling fan.
It rests under an old oak tree at the corner of Baltimore Street and Savage-Guilford Road, where the original Savage Sno-Cone Shack once stood. The old shack, a small white trailer, now sits behind the new building, decrepit from 15 years of weather damage.
Like its predecessor, the new building, which opened this spring, draws a crowd of people who crave the balls of crushed ice and sweet flavorings, served in paper cups.
"I've got people who come from Glen Burnie and Crofton just to get snowballs," said Jennifer Neimiller, sister of the owner, Paul Ganoe Jr., who is away this year on business in England. "And unless it's raining and lightning, we're normally down there."
On a recent evening, with clouds looming overhead and a slight chill in the air, snowball customers lined up outside the shack, calling out their favorite flavors.
Shortly after the windows opened at 6 p.m., 13-year-old Savage resident Richard Alderman rode up Savage-Guilford Road on a friend's bicycle toward the shack. Two friends raced behind him on foot.
"I'll take the usual," Richard said, asking for his favorite banana-flavored snowball and buying a couple extra for the two children his neighbor was baby-sitting. "I get it everyday. They taste great. I love them. I just pull up every day, and they just ask me what size."
On this day, Richard orders a medium snowball -- 10-ounce cup of crushed ice soaked with sweet, flavored juice.
Sweet cherry is the most popular, followed by sky blue and tutti fruiti. Children favor those with the catchy names, such as the Terminator and Barney (a purple-colored snowball). Often, they'll order something called a "Savage Special" -- a snowball with ice cream and marshmallows on top.
The flavors, including those with the movie and celebrity names, are products of the Kold Kiss Co. of Baltimore.
"I'll take Batman with chocolate on top," said 12-year-old Steven Hardisty, of Fort Dix, N.J., ordering a concoction described as tasting like "blue cotton candy."
He comes to Savage each summer to visit an aunt. Steven and his sister Ann, 9, grabbed their snowballs and raced off to their aunt's house.
The two children were served by 17-year-old Jena Kilroy, who is working her second summer at the snowball shack with her boyfriend Jeremy Neimiller, 17, the nephew of the owner.
"It's really a lot of fun," said Jena, who is one of seven teen-agers working at the shack this summer. "It's a good way to spend your summer instead of spending it at home. A lot of nice people come down here. We're a warm family."
Mr. Ganoe, who started the snowball operation, left the business in his family's hands when his government job sent him to England for three years. He'll take the business over again next year, but until then, Ms. Neimiller is running it.
The windows open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
On an average night, the snowball shack draws 75 people. It can draw about 100 on a good night. Prices are 25 cents for an 8-ounce cup, 50 cents for a 10-ounce and $1 for a 16-ounce.