If it's the end of August, there are some sore arms in Lucketts.

It happens every year, just before the annual Lucketts Fair, which takes place this weekend. Residents of this little town along Route 15 go over to the community center, roll up their sleeves and start churning ice cream. By the time they finish, the freezer at Lucketts Elementary School is packed with 250 gallons of the frozen treat, to be consumed by hungry fair-goers.

"We don't get to see it," joked resident C.B. McKimmey, as he turned the metal handle of a wooden ice-cream churn one evening last week. "We just get to crank it.

"Well," he conceded, "we sneak a little bit."

Ice-cream churning by the community is now in its fourth year in Lucketts. A few members of the volunteer fire department started it, and then the local Parent-Teacher Organization took it over.

A couple of weeks before churning time, PTO members call everyone in the school directory, reminding them to donate some elbow grease to the cause. And this year, someone drew a huge ice cream cone on the blackboard of the community center, then scrawled the words, "Take a Turn to Churn!"

"It gets around," said PTO President Donna Price.

From 50 to 100 residents wind up on the porch of the Lucketts Community Center over the course of two or three nights, taking their turns at the handles and talking about the latest news or how the Redskins will do this year.

In return for this hard work, the Lucketts PTO gets the proceeds from ice-cream sales. It donates funds to the elementary school, this year for new library books. Fair-goers get hand-churned ice cream, a point of pride with this crowd.

"That's how it's advertised," Price said. "Even in the little brochure the fair puts out."

The ice cream is sold by the bowl at $1.50, with toppings at 10 cents each, concocting sundaes with sprinkles, strawberries and nuts piled high and chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

"You know, all the good stuff," Price said.

The volunteers try to do as much as possible from scratch. To save time, money and aggravation, they buy ice-cream mix from a local dairy. But they pick their own fresh fruit and hand-blend the flavors, which this year include banana, blueberry, peach and mint chocolate chip, in addition to the standard vanilla and chocolate.

Women usually do that part, leaving much of the churning to the men. Men also are called upon to lift heavy metal cylinders of ice cream into and out of the churns.

"I hate to say this, but {churning} is a man's job," Price said. "I'm probably going to get into trouble for saying that."

Roy Stream, a churning veteran, said it usually takes him about 25 minutes of steady cranking to produce perfect ice cream. But there's an easy rule to follow if you don't want to watch the clock. The harder it is to turn the crank, the closer you are to being finished.

To demonstrate, Stream invited a visitor to take a few turns. The handle moved easily. About 15 minutes later, Stream beckoned again.

"Try it now," he said, grinning.

The handle turned, but not without considerable effort.

"Boy, I'm getting hungry," Stream said. "I want to get that thing {cylinder of ice cream} out of there."

Soon, he pronounced the job done. He opened the cylinder and looked inside.

"Looks like ice cream to me," he said, before carrying the cylinder inside the community center for transport to the school's freezer.

Stream emerged with a cup of chocolate ice cream, his reward for a job well done. He generously shared it with his mother, Agnes, who came to watch him toil.

"If I see something going wrong, I'll get up and help," she said.