Jackie Steinman and her daughters Blair, 1, and Margot, 2, were among the first people to kick off the seasonal opening of Gifford’s Ice Cream Stand in Bangor on a balmy Friday afternoon.

“We’re excited to get out and mark the first day of spring,” Steinman said, as Blair enjoyed a cake batter ice cream and Margot enjoyed a sherbet dish.

Katelyn Harriman, 19, hangs up an open sign for the seasonal opening of Gifford’s Ice Cream Stand in Bangor on noon Friday. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The ice cream company opened its Broadway stand at noon Friday to a line of more than 20 people.

Lorelai and Duncan Allan were among that crowd. The siblings had taken advantage of a day off from school to enjoy ice cream.

“It’s the first sign that spring is here,” Duncan said. Lorelai added that the two had a family tradition of going to every opening day since they were young.

At left; A line of customers wait to order their ice cream Friday at the seasonal opening of Gifford’s Ice Cream Stand in Bangor. At right; Kiwi, a Norwegian elkhound, waits patiently for vanilla ice cream with her “grandma” Leanne Warner at Gifford’s Ice Cream Stand in Bangor on Friday afternoon. Friday was the seasonal opening of the popular ice cream stand where Kiwi’s owner, Landen Parks, has worked for three years. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

Michaella Gilbert and her friends Kaley Ottman and Sierra Savage were among those who came from miles around to be the first to line up at Gifford’s, which opened its first location in Skowhegan in 1980.

The trio had driven two hours to try the new flavors that Gifford’s announced along with its seasonal opening, when the shop traditionally gives out free ice cream cones.

“It’s the best Maine ice cream,” Gilbert said. “I’m looking forward to trying the new ‘cone-y pretzel whirl.’”

At left; A chocolate milkshake at Gifford’s Ice Cream Stand in Bangor. At right; Katelyn Harriman, 19, scoops ice cream on opening day at Gifford’s Ice Cream stand in Bangor on Friday. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

Manager Rhonda Shumaker said that the shop would stop giving out its free opening day ice cream cones in the evening to reduce the likelihood of crowds, but that Gifford’s will give free cones to kids ages 2 and younger.

A proposed drive-through window that chief executive Lindsay Gifford-Skilling announced last year for the Bangor stand is still a work in progress, Shumaker said.

Gifford’s Skowhegan and Auburn locations will open at a later date when they can hire workers to man those stands, the company said on Facebook on Thursday.

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.