National Ice Cream Day – July 19, 2020

Sun Jul 19

Thanks to President Reagan, we celebrate National Ice Cream Day every third Sunday in July, meaning July 19 this year. Reagan wanted to commemorate a treat enjoyed by over 90 percent of the US population. In 1984, he decreed a day for ice cream and his proclamation actually glorified the dairy industry in America. In fact, Americans still lead the world when it comes to eating this frozen delight: 23 gallons a year to be precise. Reagan also proclaimed July as National Ice Cream month, describing ice cream as ‘‘a nutritious and wholesome food enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States.’’ Since then, the holiday has sparked world-wide cravings and is traditionally celebrated year after year. Standing in the frozen food aisle trying desperately to make a choice? Or brainstorming how to celebrate this fabulous day? Well, look no further. Inspiration has arrived.

History of National Ice Cream Day

There’s no known inventor that can be credited with creating ice cream unfortunately. But the history of ice cream is as rich as gelato. It’s been said that an ice cream like food was first consumed in China sometime between 618-97 AD. The first dish was made from flour, buffalo milk and camphor, an organic compound commonly used in lotion. It’s also been noted that Alexander the Great adored ice and snow flavoured with nectar and honey.

We’ve also identified that the Bible indicates that King Solomon enjoyed iced drinks during the harvest season. Speaking of homemade, during the Roman Empire, Caesar would send people to gather snow from the mountains, just to cover it in fruit and juices.

Close to a thousand years later in Italy, Marco Polo had returned from the Far East and bought back a recipe for what we now know as sherbet. It is assumed that this recipe developed into what we now know as ice cream which was once called ‘‘Cream Ice.’ It was in 1660 that the general public was presented with ice cream. An Italian man named Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli decided to perfect a machine made by his fisherman grandfather which produced top-quality gelato in his café. The recipe blended milk, butter, eggs and cream and was sold in Paris.

The first mention of ice cream in the United States derives from a letter written in Maryland in 1744 by Governor William Bladen’s guest. Then, the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777 printed the first advert for ice cream in the United States. Following the American Revolution, ice cream became super popular in the US.

Since then ice cream has exploded onto the desert scene with the creation of home machines, as well as the emergence of ice cream vans, ice cream floats, sundaes and well-known brands like ‘‘Ben and Jerry’s’’ and ‘‘Haagen-Dazs’’ that we still consume to this day. The effect of ice cream on society is so great, that the brain of an ice cream lover has been likened to that of an addict. When the brain wants ice cream, it reacts like a passionate fanatic.

National Ice Cream Day timeline

1970s
Anything is Popsicle

The production of pre-packaged ice cream is flourishing in supermarkets and ice cream parlors.

1939
Soft for Ice Cream

American mass production of ice cream is accomplished to boost morale of allied troops in Europe, popularizing the loveable dish all over the world.

1744
Getting Served

Colonists from Scotland bring an ice cream recipe to North America.

400BC
Royal Ice

Persians invent an ice cream recipe for their royal families made from saffron, iced rose water, vermicelli and fruit.

National Ice Cream Day - Survey Results

Data gathered by a top Boston Marketing Agency

National Ice Cream Day FAQs

When Reagan signed his presidential proclamation for National Ice Cream Day, how much ice cream did Americans eat?

Americans in 1983 were consuming 887 million gallons of ice cream! Woah, that’s a lot of brain freeze.

Where are the best ice cream deals on National Ice Cream day?

Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone are giving discounted and free cones to shoppers who simply download their apps. Even pets are offered free ice cream with biscuits on top at PetSmart.

Who eats the most ice cream in the world?

New Zealand outdoes everyone as the top ice cream consumers in the world. 23 litres every year to be exact.

Is National ice cream day a real holiday?

National ice cream day is a part of national ice cream month and is celebrated and honored yearly by many. But truthfully, do we need a national holiday as reason to eat more ice cream?

What’s the weirdest ice cream out there?

Our idea of a delicious treat just got fishy. In Japan, you can enjoy a nice scoop of squid ice cream. You can also purchase octopus and ox tongue flavor.

National Ice Cream Day Activities

  1. Get it on sale

    If you want to partake in this awesome day, many stores and ice cream parlours are having great sales and special deals online and in store to commemorate this day. Buy extra just because you have the sweetest excuse!

  2. Make your own

    Never tried to make ice cream at home before? Well, this is your chance. Homemade ice cream is simple yet rewarding. You can jazz it up by adding bits of your favorite fruit, chocolate, or even classic cookie dough. If you're tired of the usual vanilla and strawberry flavours, get creative and taste test to your heart’s desire.

  3. Create an ice cream bowl

    Just like that favourite mug you have in the kitchen, why not immortalize your love for ice cream on this day and make an ice cream bowl. Simply head on over to your local ceramics store and create your own bowl so you can gobble some ice cream on this day and always.

5 Super Cool Facts About Ice Cream

  1. It was used as a greeting

    Because of its lush taste, ice cream was used as a greeting when immigrants arrived on Ellis Island.

  2. Thomas Jefferson loved it

    Thomas Jefferson was an ice cream fanatic and the Library of Congress collected his original handwritten recipe for vanilla ice cream.

  3. How dairy?

    It is said that nine percent of all the milk produced in the US is actually used on making ice cream.

  4. Vanilla takes it all

    In the United states Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor, with 29% of total sales.

  5. Long Beach eats it the most

    Compared to all other cities, the most ice cream is consumed in Long Beach, California.

Why We Love National Ice Cream Day

  1. Choice

    Cookie Dough. Vanilla bean. Mint chocolate chip. There are multiple flavors to choose from to satisfy your national ice cream day cravings.

  2. I have an ice dream

    Ice cream is the textbook dessert for all seasons. You can cool down in the summer with a scoop of your favorite flavor, or enjoy it in the winter accompanied by a warm cake or pie. You can also whizz it in a blender and make a milkshake. No matter the season, does ice cream ever disappoint?

  3. A lick of pint

    Though some ice cream comes in half gallon cartons, for some reason we still crave the pint. Why? It’s just the perfect size when you want to eat out of the container and watch a movie.

National Ice Cream Day dates

YearDateDay
2021July 18Sunday
2022July 17Sunday
2023July 16Sunday
2024July 21Sunday
2025July 20Sunday

National Ice Cream Day Featured Video

Celebrate National Ice Cream Day