I scream, you scream, we all screamed for ice cream.
Well, maybe it was more like a low clamor, or emphatic yes, but for about 80 intrepid Babcock Ranch residents, this was one summer holiday treat they did not want to miss.
Besides, it was a great way to beat the 90-some degree heat and famous Florida humidity with a frozen dessert at Lake Timber Lodge.
It was, after all, a gathering of celebrants for National Ice Cream Sundae Day, sponsored by the Babcock Ranch Residential Association. Participants were greeted by Brennen Gillan with the Slater’s Goods & Provisions ice cream truck and offered a serving size carton of vanilla or chocolate flavored ice cream.
From there they entered the lodge where the island countertop was ladened with topping choices of chocolate and salted caramel glazes, colorful candy sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, gummy bears, crushed Oreo cookies, Skittles, whipped cream and maraschino cherries. It was a cornucopia of colors and textures.
If ever you could taste a rainbow of colors, as the Skittles’ commercial states, this was probably the time. Even the plastic spoons were colorful, adding a nice touch to the festive atmosphere.
Children had fun selecting their favorite topping and trying something new. “I like the gummy bears,” Logan Keller, age 7, said as he showed off his loose tooth.
Some of the day’s biggest fans were adults. Dave Kuykendall admitted to being a kid at heart as he fit as many toppings as he could on his carton of ice cream. “At this rate my diet will allow me to eat carbohydrates maybe by Thursday,” he said as his wife, Deb, nodded in agreement.
Lou Amato proclaimed, “This is my lunch,” to justify his caloric intake of sweet, cold magic deliciousness.
Althea Francis brought her three visiting grandchildren who delighted in the midday treat. “After this, we’re headed to the pool to work off some of this sugar,” she said.
Who doesn’t like ice cream?
“I don’t,” replied Jodi Kirwan. “But he does,” she said, pointing to her husband, Jerry. “I’m here to support him. And it’s her favorite food,” she said about her granddaughter, Jozie, who sat with them and wore a shirt with an ice cream cone motif. She clearly dressed for the occasion.
How did this day become National Ice Cream Day? Who declared such a thing?
The answer is President Ronald Reagan. In 1984, he declared July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Sundae Day. He wanted to commemorate the dessert enjoyed then by 90% of the U.S. population. That was before frozen yogurt and dairy substitutes seriously joined the fun.
On average, Americans consume 20 pounds of ice cream every year, according to research. As of 2022, the U.S. ice cream industry was worth $9.9 billion. Florida ranked fifth among states consuming the most ice cream per person. California ranked first followed by Oklahoma, New Jersey and New York.
Four cities claim to have invented the ice cream sundae. These include Buffalo and Ithaca, New York; Evanston, Illinois; and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
The treat began appearing in soda fountains in the 1880s because ice cream sodas were not permitted to be sold on Sundays. At the time the sundae was a clever way to circumvent the rule, but today it stands, or melts, on its own merits.
How does Babcock Ranch stack up? Tom Fremerak of Slater’s Goods & Provisions, which operates the Square Scoops ice cream concession, said, “We get deliveries twice a week from Yoder’s Southern Creamery, and even in the offseason without the snowbirds we are buying about 300 to 450 gallons per month. This means we are selling about 9,000 hand-dipped scoops per month in cones, cups and milkshakes. We are limited in space but still carry 16 different flavors plus a raspberry sorbet and a nondairy selection. Kids love the blue Cookie Monster flavor. Chocolate and brownie caramel are overall the two most popular flavors sold here.
“Babcock Ranch is definitely an ice cream town, especially considering that the price of ice cream has increased about 9%. Our sales double and sometimes triple on Tuesdays, when we offer a special price of two scoops for $3.”
Note: Toppings cost extra.
So if you missed the Babcock Ranch National Ice Cream Sundae event, there is no shame in visiting Square Scoops and getting your own taste of the rainbow.