Ice Cream Day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday in July.
You get to have ice cream at every meal today, and in between as well!
People around the world can unite on this day in enjoying ice cream together.
Vegans can even get plant-based ones now (not that there’s always much real milk anymore in some brands, anyway.)
Both regular hard and soft-serve ice cream count, as well as any flavour.
You could also treat yourself to some ice cream cake.
Some ice cream parlours may make special edition ice creams just for today.
The day is celebrated and promoted by many ice cream companies and dairy marketing boards.
Other resources: Enjoying Homemade Ice Cream without the Risk of Salmonella Infection (FDA)
Activities for today
- Try making your own ice cream;
- host an ice cream party today, and buy a few funky flavours for friends to try at the party. Have some fun toppings as well;
- go out for an ice cream cone;
- have ice cream with dessert;
- have some ice cream in an edible waffle bowl;
- make a dish with ice cream as an ingredient: maybe a float, a milkshake, or a Baked Alaska, or a cake with ice cream as a middle layer;
- treat yourself to an expensive brand you don’t often buy;
- show some support to your local artisanal ice cream place;
- look for special offers;
- look for someplace that offers free pet cones of dog-safe ice cream for your pooch;
- buy several brands and do a blind taste test with friends;
- download apps from big chains such as Baskin-Robbins and look for deals on this day;
- drive to an ice cream parlour out of town. Some areas have “Ice Cream Trails” for you to drive along, sampling the wares;
- post your ice cream photos on social media using the hashtags for today.
In this video, Pascale Castonguay of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum served up ice cream on CTV Morning Live in Ottawa, Canada. The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is holding an event on Sunday to mark Ice Cream Day.
It’s a myth that U.S. president Ronald Reagan proclaimed the third Sunday in July of every year as National Ice Cream Day. He didn’t say the third Sunday, and, he didn’t say every year. The history of the day is more convoluted.
In 1920, National Ice Cream Day was celebrated in many parts of the United States on the 29th of April that year.
In the same year, 1920, it was also celebrated in other states on the 27th of May, sponsored by the ThermoPack Company.
The first print mention that CooksInfo is aware of in print media for an Ice Cream Day in July dates from 1980 in Los Angeles:
“15 July: National Ice Cream Day.” — Bazrod, Sondra Farrell. Planning Ahead. Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Times. Tuesday, 1 January 1980. You Section, Page 2, col. 1.
Note that the date mentioned, 15th July (1980), was a Tuesday.
Throughout the first half of the 1980s, Ice Cream Day was held on the 15th of July, regardless of which day of the week it was.
In 1984, with Presidential proclamation 5214, U.S. President Ronald Reagan declared that 15 July 1984 would be National Ice Cream Day.
“Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Ronald Reagan. Proclamation 5219—National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, 1984. University of California Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. Accessed June 2021 at https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-5219-national-ice-cream-month-and-national-ice-cream-day-1984
Note two things:
- the proclamation gave a date of the 15th of July, which in 1984 happened by coincidence to be the third Sunday;
- the proclamation restricted it to the specific year given of 1984. As is the case with other similar gesture proclamations, there was no stated intention in the written proclamation of it applying to future years.
In the next year, 1985, two things happened.
Some newspapers continued promoting the 15th of July date, which in 1985 happened to be a Monday.
Others said that Sunday, 14th July 1985 was the day, which happened to be the second Sunday in July.
“America’s love affair with ice cream will be celebrated for the third straight year as Ice Cream for America returns with a new and expanded program for National Ice Cream Month in July, 1985. Plans for the summer-long program, leading off with the “World’s Biggest Ice Cream Social” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 20, were announced by Ice Cream for America co-chairmen Kenneth J. Douglas, chairman of Dean Foods, Chicago, Ill., and John F. Garber, Jr, president of Penn Dairies, Lancaster, PA… National Ice Cream Month is July, and National Ice Cream Day is July 14 this year. These days were officially designated by Congress and the president last year.” — Ice Cream for America program; kick-off festival in June. Spearfish, South Dakota: Spearfish Star. Tuesday, 19 February 1985. Page 3, col. 1.
In 1986, a print mention for Pennsylvania notes that the promoter of the day was the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers (IAICM), and, incidentally, says the the day will be observed on the 13th of July, which was the second Sunday of the month.
“Penn Dairies will sponsor the Third Annual Pensupreme Ice Cream Festival on Sunday, July 13, to benefit the Lancaster County Library System… National Ice Cream Day is sponsored by the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers to celebrate America’s love for ice cream. Penn Dairies is a member of IAICM, a Washington, D.C-based trade association with more than 280 members who manufacture ice cream and related products.” — Ice Cream Fest Set For July 13. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Intelligencer Journal. Wednesday, 23 April 1986. Page 16, col. 1.
However, a community calendar printed in the Advocate-Messenger of Danville, Kentucky, on Monday, 30th June 1986 still said the day would be on Tuesday, the 15th of July that year. July Community Calendar. Danville, Kentucky: The Advocate-Messenger. Monday, 30th June 1986. Page 13.
Conflicting opinions about the date continued for many years.
As of the late 2010s, calendar day websites, and Google’s search engine, seemed to promote the third Sunday of July.
Baska, Harriet. Where to score free and cheap treats (for you and your pet) on National Ice Cream Day. CNBC. 14 July 2018. Accessed June 2021 at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/12/national-ice-cream-day-heres-where-to-get-free-and-cheap-treats.html
DeMontis, Rita. National Ice Cream Day one of the sweetest events of summer. Toronto, Canada: The Toronto Sun. 13 July 2018. Accessed June 2021 at https://torontosun.com/life/food/national-ice-cream-day-one-of-the-sweetest-events-of-summer
Tyko, Kelly. What’s the scoop? See the deals Sunday for National Ice Cream Day. USA Today. 18 July 2018. Accessed June 2021 athttps://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/07/13/national-ice-cream-day-2018-where-get-freebies-and-deals-july-15/770230002/
|↑1||Ronald Reagan. Proclamation 5219—National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, 1984. University of California Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. Accessed June 2021 at https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-5219-national-ice-cream-month-and-national-ice-cream-day-1984|
|↑2||July Community Calendar. Danville, Kentucky: The Advocate-Messenger. Monday, 30th June 1986. Page 13.|