President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month back in 1984. Since then, it’s been our patriotic duty to indulge in cones, cups, and sundaes, whether for dessert or as an anytime treat to cool down in the summer heat. Even better, Sunday, July 15, 2018 is National Ice Cream Day. And you know what that means? Free ice cream…yum!
National Ice Cream Day is observed every year on the 3rd Sunday in July and is a part of National Ice Cream Month. This fun celebration is enjoyed with a bowl, cup, or cone filled with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Seriously, does anyone out there not love ice cream?
A Little Bit of Ice Cream History
Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire would put snow in a bowl, pour grape-juice concentrate over it and eat it as a treat. They did this when the weather was hot and used the snow saved in their cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal”. It was snow taken from the snowfall that remained at the top of mountains near the capital.
It wasn’t until Italian explorer Marco Polo returned from the Far East (with a recipe that mostly resembled sherbet) that Europeans got their first taste of what we now know as ice cream. From Italy, ice cream made its way across Europe and eventually to colonial America.
It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York, Philadelphia, and other cities during the colonial era. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all enjoyed ice cream.
In fact, official records show that President George Washington allocated a total of $200 on ice cream purchases during the hot summer of 1790. In 1813, First Lady Dolly Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
More Fun Facts
The U.S. enjoys a whopping 48 pints of ice cream per person every year on average, making Americans the number one ice cream consumers worldwide. Coming in number two? New Zealand. What are the top five ice cream flavors enjoyed by Americans? That would be vanilla (27.8%), followed by chocolate (14.3%), strawberry (3.3%), chocolate chip (3.3%), and butter pecan (2.8%).
In the late 19th century, America’s soda shops bowed to pressure from local churches who demanded that the newly-popular “ice cream soda” not be served on Sundays. The solution was to remove the soda from the recipe which led to a new invention called (you guessed it) the ice cream sundae.
During the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, a vendor ran out of ice cream cups to serve visitors. He quickly enlisted the help of a neighboring vendor who provided rolled-up waffle cones in which to serve the sweet treat…and the ice cream cone was born!
How to Celebrate This Year
Make sure you stop by these spots for a scoop (or two or three)…oh, and don’t forget the sprinkles!
Friendly’s, located on the east coast in 14 states, has been celebrating all summer offering sale-priced single scoops and double scoops, as well as Sundae Fun-day cones. Getting freebies can be a year-round event here if you sign up for the “Be our BFF Club”! With great deals on ice cream cakes and sundaes at their restaurants, being a BFF definitely has its perks. Don’t worry if you’re too busy hitting up other ice cream shops on Sunday the 15th to make it there, this deal is all year long!
Located in 25 states all over the USA, Carvel is offering the classic buy-one-get-one deal in honor of the annual holiday that pays homage to the frozen dessert. Yes, you can get two tasty cones (or cups) of cold, creamy soft-serve ice cream for the price of one when you visit your local Carvel location on July 15th. There isn’t much more you could ask for on this almost too-good-to-be-true holiday.
3. Baskin Robbins
On National Ice Cream Day (Sunday, July 15th), guests who download the Baskin-Robbins mobile app will receive exclusive offers like a BOGO Cone offer, a BOGO 99-cent sundaes offer, and $2 off a medium milkshake offer. These deals can be used to enjoy any of Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream flavors. Baskin-Robbins will also be ending National Ice Cream Month on a sweet note with its Celebrate 31 promotion. On Tuesday, July 31st, all regular and kid-sized scoops will be $1.50. This offer can be enjoyed with any Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavor, including the Flavor of the Month, OREO ‘n Cake, or a seasonal favorite like America’s Birthday Cake, which features strawberry and cake-flavored ice creams with blue whipped cream-flavored swirl.
4. Dairy Queen
Located all over the world in 20 different countries, DQ says sign up for the Blizzard Fan Club and DQ will thank you with a buy-one, get-one free Blizzard treat offer. The best part is that the rewards program also sends you a special treat on your birthday, making the sweet savings last all year long. Or download their new app for a free Blizzard treat.
Celebrate this year’s National Ice Cream Day at McDonald’s with a free vanilla cone, made with soft serve that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Simply download their app and redeem the Free Cone deal at participating restaurants on Sunday, July 15 for a complimentary vanilla soft serve. One lucky person who redeems the free vanilla cone offer will win far more than one free cone: McDonald’s soft serve cones for life! Once you download the app and redeem your frozen treat at a participating McDonald’s between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on July 15 you could win the shiny, one-of-a-kind Golden Arches cone and free soft serve for life. No purchase is necessary.
6. Cumberland Farms
Cumberland Farms’ east coast convenience stores (located in 8 states) last year rolled out a brand new line of ice cream sandwiches to celebrate National Ice Cream Day and they are delicious. From now through Labor Day, customers who purchase a 20-ounce Mountain Dew or Pepsi product will get a free ice cream sandwich of their choice ($2.49 value).
7. Cold Stone Creamery
When you join their eClub you get a buy-one, get-one free ice cream coupon. Known for their upscale quality ice cream ,the deal also applies to Cold Stone’s shakes, smoothies, and its frappes. Every day through July 15th, the Random Acts of Cold Stone team (#RandomActsofColdStone) will travel to undisclosed stores across the country and give away free ice cream. Random Acts of Cold Stone is a unique way to say thank you to Cold Stone Creamery customers and spread random acts of kindness throughout the nation!
8. Dippin’ Dots
Celebrate National Ice Cream Day with a free mini cup of Dippin’ Dots at participating stores and shopping center locations on July 15th. Giveaway times will vary by location.
As always, it’s a good idea to check first to make sure the offer is valid at your location.
Also be sure to check around in your own area for all the local ice cream shops which are participating in the festivities as well. Many local ice cream parlors and stores have sales and specials on their products on National Ice Cream Day. Visit one of them to celebrate this fun holiday.
Some Extra Fun Ice Cream Ideas
Host an ice cream social on a sunny afternoon. Set up a table with ice cream and lots of toppings with your friends and make your own ice cream sundaes. Add some fun games for the kids!
This month your local supermarket chain is ripe for all of their extra special discounts for ice cream and other frozen treats. Coupons online and in flyers and ads will save you money while you cool off during the hottest time of the year and just enjoy your very own creations at home all month long!
Have ice cream for any of your meals! It can be considered as a nutritious food group, at least for this one day can’t it? Ice cream for breakfast along with your pancakes? You won’t get into too much trouble, will you?
If you don’t live in the United States, have no worries. Ice cream is a worldwide treat and is celebrated all over the world even if it isn’t an “official” holiday and it is delicious treat in every culture. So serve ice cream to your family and friends.
Create your very own ice cream flavors! You can search the internet for ideas or you can just add some of you favorite tastes like a little maple syrup to your vanilla ice cream? Or try some candy bits to your chocolate ice cream? There are no limits to the fun and imagination that can be combined!
What about making some ice cream sandwiches with the old stand-by graham crackers or chocolate chip cookies? Get the kids involved and have family fun while being creative!
Summer and ice cream make even more fun when you are sharing them with your friends and family! So be sure to enjoy this special day and really all month long to celebrate our frozen treats.
Is ice cream a family favorite at your house? Does it play a role in your summer celebrations? When you participate in all the free and discounted family fun events at your local parks and recreational sites, are you including ice cream as part of the festivities? What other ideas can you think of to share with all of us? What is your very favorite flavor or are you just one who likes them all?