The Kenai Peninsula comes alive during summer. Tourists, fishermen, seasonal workers and year-round residents share highways and harbors from Homer to Seward. ADN's Tegan Hanlon and Marc Lester recently spent a week meeting some of the people who make the Peninsula unique. Here are some of their stories.
SOLDOTNA — Juliann DiLucchio spends her summers serving ice cream inside a roadside building shaped like a gigantic soft-serve ice cream cone. One of the best parts: She can't eat dairy and the ice cream doesn't make her stomach hurt.
Juliann's grandfather built the shop about 13 years ago with her in mind.
"He set out searching high and low for something that was lactose free," said Heather DiLucchio, Juliann's mom. Heather now owns the business, Northern Lights Delights, and it still dishes up lactose-free ice cream in a lot off the Sterling Highway.
Back when Juliann's grandfather opened the stand, she said, Soldotna only had one other ice cream shop.
"He wanted to bring something that was different than Dairy Queen," Heather said.
He also wanted to serve a product that his granddaughter could eat. Juliann has an issue with dairy — it's a little more than an intolerance and a little less than an allergy.
These days, the DiLucchios keep the ice cream stand open each year from about Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Juliann, an 18-year-old who recently graduated from Soldotna High School, said people will show up on the warmest and sunniest summer days, as well as the coolest and rainiest.
"People just like ice cream, even though it's cold," she said. "It's Alaska."