National Ice Cream Day
National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of July every year. Ice cream and summers will always be the perfect combo forever and ever, and the holiday lands in the middle of National Ice Cream Month. July is the peak of summer and a perfect time to spend time with friends and family and cool off with sweet treats.
Ice cream is a beloved treat enjoyed by many since 1660 when it was made available to the public. Whether in a dish or cone, today is the perfect day to celebrate this amazing invention that was created long ago.
This year it falls on Sunday, July 17th, which offers all of us an inarguable reason for giving ourselves a moment or two of pure summertime joy by supporting our local spots for Ice Cream.
The history of ice cream began around 500 B.C. in the Persian Empire where ice was used in combination with grape juices, fruits, and other flavors to produce very expensively and difficult to produce summertime treats. They placed snow in underground chambers known as yakchal where the temperatures kept the snow from melting. The Persians also hiked to the mountain tops by their summer capital to gather snowfall.
Recipes for these ice-based ice creams (sorbets) traveled to Ancient Rome, where they were welcomed with open hands (and mouths!) by emperors and nobility. Then, 9th to 11th-century innovations that were made in China appeared in Europe and changed the way we looked at ice creams forever. Milk-based frozen products enabled cooks to produce a wide variety of new ice creams, starting the era of Neapolitan ice cream, gelato, and others.
The modern age of ice cream history started during the years of World War II when flash-frozen and dried ice creams became part of the official U.S. Army rations, which were distributed on all fronts across Europe, North Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific. After the war ended, people all around the world started viewing ice creams as an American invention and quickly developed their industrial capabilities to produce them. Soon, Hollywood movies and fashion incorporated ice cream regularly in their products, and new production capabilities enabled the creation of many new types of ice cream (most notably, soft-serve ice cream and the ice cream sundae).
Since 1984 July is celebrated as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July is celebrated as National Ice Cream Day. National Ice Cream Day was created with the help of former President Ronald Reagan. According to popular lore, the holiday came about because Reagan believed the frosty treat (loved by a whopping ninety percent of the country) shouldn’t go unnoticed. Therefore, in 1984, he signed a proclamation declaring every third Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day. His efforts not only satisfied the country’s taste buds but also benefited the nation’s dairy industry by providing a unique marketing opportunity that’s still popular to this day.
“It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food. Over 887 million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983,” Reagan wrote in Proclamation 5219. As stated in the original presidential proclamation, “Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over 90% of the people in the United States.” Although the proclamation was initially meant to apply just to 1984, the tradition of celebrating eating ice cream every July has been carried on by ice cream manufacturers for decades ever since.
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How to celebrate National Ice Cream Day
The celebration of the popular dairy dessert continues as July is marked as National Ice Cream Month with the third Sunday in July is set apart as National Ice Cream Day! Plan an Ice Cream Sundae Party or host an Ice Cream Taste Testing Party with your friends and family. There are plenty of ways to celebrate with deals, freebies, and discounts provided in many Ice Cream shops on this day.
No matter how you like your ice cream–on a cone, in a bowl, or straight from the carton–this national day has found the perfect place in the middle of summer. So celebrate it! Share a scoop with your kids and take the fun further with these educational activities on summer’s second-best holiday!
Enjoy National Ice Cream Day by sharing some with your family and friends! Experiment with different flavors or go to your favorite ice cream shop today!
Suggested Read: Tips for Puddings, Desserts and Ice Creams
Favorite National Ice Cream Day Activities
- Teach your preschooler spelling, size sequencing, colors, patterns, and more with my free Ice Cream Preschool Printable Pack.
- Practice problem solving, estimation, and measuring by making ice cream with this easy lesson from Beyond the Chalkboard.
- Learn about insect anatomy with a few hefty scoops of ice cream and a generous serving of “magic” shell topping. Frozen insects never tasted so good.
- Do a quick study on the matter and how solids and liquids can form into a new mixture…you guessed it…ICE CREAM!
- Learn about melting points and why salt is a key ingredient in making such a sweet treat.
- Get your kids moving with this easy ice cream recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream machine.
- Discover ice cream’s storied past–from the 2nd Century BC to today on youtube.
- Practice your money math with this ice cream sundae shop activity.
- Make some fun refrigerator art with this handcraft activity.
- Introduce your kiddos to the quirky, silly, and sometimes downright odd poetry of Shel Silverstein with his ice cream-inspired poem 18 Flavors.
Suggested Read: Important Days In July