By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Shore ice cream lovers came out in droves Sun., Juy 16 to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.
According to the National Day Calendar website, National Ice Cream Day was proclaimed in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan to be observed the third Sunday of July, which he also named National Ice Cream month.
This year, long lines could be seen at area ice cream parlors up until closing time as customers queued up to get their favorite flavor.
At Days Ice Cream in Ocean Grove people stood in lines across the shop’s wooden porch, down the stairs and along Pitman Avenue.
Owner Dave Fernicola said this summer has been no different than past ones.
“It’s been great, it’s hot and we’re very, very busy,” he said.
Fernicola said summer business started out slow but this past weekend proved to be in full swing.
“It finally took off,” he said.
He also said this year’s favorites include anything with salted caramel or peanut butter. Another popular trend is anything vegan or non-dairy.
Fernicola said there are plenty of requests for cold treats made with coconut milk, almond milk and soy milk.
The shop is open from noon to 10 p.m. on week days and noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
He expects to stay open this year until Columbus Day.
At Cone Zone on Route 33 in Neptune there were lines out the door at 9 p.m.
Owner John Goff said there were more customers on National Ice Cream Day this year than last.
“We had about 500 on Sunday,” he said.
Manager Deborah Leonforte said on Monday, “Yes, it’s been very, very busy. Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day, I think that brought a lot of people in.”
Leonforte said all the ice cream in the store is made on the premises.
In addition to the national celebration of ice cream, Cone Zone is having it’s annual Christmas in July event, making holiday favorites like egg nog, peppermint stick and red velvet flavored ice cream.
Goff said cake batter ice cream has been a big seller this season.
The Ice Cream Shoppe on Route 35 in Neptune City has seen an upturn in business this summer season, which Manager Kelly White attributes to the shop’s move towards using natural flavors in its ice cream.
“We reformulated the hard ice cream and it’s definitely paying off. We put real coffee in the ice cream, not the coffee flavoring,” she said.
Sunday was the busiest day yet for the store which is in its sixth season.
White said the top two customer favorites are strawberry cheesecake and dirty banana which is chocolate ice cream, banana puree, crunchies and fudge.
For the kids, cotton candy and birthday cake are top sellers.
At Scoops on Route 35 in Ocean Township, manager Danielle Fox, said patrons filled the store for National Ice Cream Day.
Favorite flavors are any flavor of soft serve, and hard ice cream mint chocolate chip and triple chocolate, she said.
Fox, who has worked at the store for five years said, “The summer is going awesome.”
Fun Facts About Ice Cream
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 and other cities during the colonial era.
- Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream.
- 1813 -First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
- 1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
- 1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
- 1920 – Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.