14 of the Best Ice Cream Fests USA


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It's that time of the year when the best treat to "scoop up" and beat the summer heat is America's favorite dessert—ice cream! According to the International Dairy Foods Association, each American consumes nearly 20 pounds of ice cream (or about 4 gallons) annually. Now that's a lot of ice cream! Even President Ronald Reagan officially recognized the nation's love of cool and creamy delights with the issuance of Proclamation 5219 on July 9, 1984, when he declared it as National Ice Cream Month and July 15 as National Ice Cream Day (later observed on the third Sunday in July).

In the spirit of the country's dessert, it's the perfect time to hit the road to one of these sweet extravaganzas to sample delicious concoctions from ice cream sandwiches and candy-coated bars to classic soft serve cones and cultural twists on creamy treats. From coast to coast, discover some of the best ice cream festivals in little and big towns to enjoy this beloved treat all summer long! If you're not near a local fest, check out The Museum of Ice's interactive installations and all-you-can-eat frozen treats in Austin, Chicago, New York, and newly opening Boston and Miami locations. Stay tuned for National Ice Cream month events at the museum on their blog and Instagram page!

Discover even more delicious ice cream recipes, fun facts, and more.


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Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival

Utica, OH
May 25-27, 2024
Kick off Memorial Day weekend with a roadtrip to the historic Ye Olde Mill for the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival. Over 75,000 scoops of ice cream will be served at the nostalgia filled event hosted by Velvet Ice Cream at a former gristmill site. It even includes a grand kick off parade, ice cream eating contest, pony rides, car and motorcycle show, magic show, and more that 90 artisan makers and food vendors.

Learn more at ohiotraveler.com.


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Taste of Summer Ice Cream Festival

Broken Arrow, OK
June 22, 2024
Load up on all the ice cream you stand at this exciting fest. The day is filled with All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream from Blue Bell Creameries (with over 24 flavors offered), splash activities in a designated "Water Wars" park area that includes water inflatables and pre-filled water balloons, treasure dig for gold coins and fun prizes, food trucks, hands-on crafts, get active zone (with soccer drills, martial arts, and even ballet), shopping, an ice cream eating contest, and a DJ spinning tunes all afternoon.

Learn more at tasteofsummerba.com.


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Scoop San Diego Ice Cream Festival

San Diego, CA
June 23, 2024
Sample the best of America's favorite summertime treats—ice cream and gelato at Southern California's only ice cream festival. Plus, it supports philanthropic efforts at Berry Good Food Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization that supports a local and regenerative food system in San Diego with programs around food security and food education.

Learn more at scoopsandiego.org.

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Evansville Ice Cream Fest

Evansville, IN
June 26, 2024
In the heart of Evansville, get a generous scoop of traditional frozen delights and creative flavor twists at a Build Your Own Ice Cream Bar. Sway your hips on the dance floor while listening local DJs play tunes all afternoon and make time for giant outdoor games and fun at the kids entertainment zone with a mini train. Don't forget to check out the adult Boozy Ice Cream Bar and Beer Garden too.

Learn more at exploreevansville.com.

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bubble waffles with raspberries, chocolate and marshmallow in white paper cups are sold on open kitchen food festival event street food in food stall
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Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Festival

Wilmington, DE
June 29, 2024

Settle in for a grand sampling of homemade ice cream delights from the best local creameries before hopping aboard the family train to the play zone that includes a bounce house and other interactive kid-friendly play areas. Plus, discover unique creations from over 30 local artists at the maker's market, museum tours at Rockwood Park & Museum, and a dazzling fireworks display.

Learn more at newcastlede.gov.


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Ice Cream Festival on Filbert

Philadelphia, PA
July 13, 2024
America’s oldest ice cream company, Bassetts Ice Cream, will host its annual Ice Cream Festival at Philadelphia's historic Reading Terminal Market. Ice cream samplings from Bassetts Ice Cream and 15 additional local ice creameries will be available. The event also has an interactive Gingerbread Lane set up for Christmas in July that includes meet-and-greets with Summer Santa and a craft station for visitors to make a Gingerbread Beach House. Be sure to explore the entire market for additional ice cream-themed activities, games, and music from a live DJ.

Learn more at readingterminalmarket.org.


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National Ice Cream Fest

Ashburn, VA
July 20, 2024
Hit the road for One Loudoun's festival grounds for an ice cream spectacular that has good times waiting for entertainment lovers. The fun filled lineup includes 80s cover bands and live DJs. Plus, the will be traditional frozen desserts, ethnic inspired ice cream creations such as ube and green tea in fish shaped cones, face painting, and even activity zones that have included rock climbing.

Learn more at nationalicecreamfest.com.

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NYC Summer Ice Cream Blizzard

New York, NY
July 21, 2024
Get ready for a summertime ice cream blitz in the big city! Beat the sweltering heat and celebrate with local ice cream makers, one-of-a-kind flavors, and sweet creations like sundaes and sky-high cones at this event. It takes place at The Grand Bazaar NYC where you can also peruse unique wares from over 100 local artists, designers, craft-makers, vintage dealers, and artisanal food vendors. The bazaar's profits also benefit four local public schools and impact over 2,000 children.

Learn more at grandbazaarnyc.org.

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The Ice Cream Festival

San Francisco, CA
July 21, 2024
Make your way to District Six of San Francisco, a dynamic open-air market venue for a seasonal tasting experience. This isn't a typical vanilla ice cream social! Browse vendors serving over the top ice cream covered in sprinkles, massive banana splits, creamy popsicle delights, and mile high cone creations. You're sure to discover a new flavor or cool summer treat, and there are games and live music to keep the family entertained.

Learn more at eventbrite.com.

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Tampa Bay Ice Cream Fest

St. Petersburg, FL
July 21, 2024
Head to the Pier Plaza at The St. Pete Pier for tons of sunshine and scrumptious ice cream during this annual extravaganza! This daylong festival includes live entertainment, family-friendly activities, and makers with delectable frozen treats like soft-serve cream, craft ice cream, gelato, popsicles, and much more to get your sweet fix. You'll also have a chance to cast your vote for the Best Ice Cream in Tampa Bay Award.

Learn more at
visitstpeteclearwater.com

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One Sweet Summer "Frozen" Ice Cream Festival

Loveland, CO
July 26, 2024

Get ready for a unique experience at this jam-packed ice cream festival! Sample the creative offerings from ice cream vendors with creamy soft-serve, gelato (from God Save the Cream like Dirty Oreo, Campfire Marshmallow, and Unicorn Poop), and Mexican-style paleta ice cream bars from Northern Colorado. Past festivals have included “frozen” ice cream demos with liquid nitrogen by the UNC Physics Department, live music, and special evening movie screenings on the Foundry lawn green.

Learn more at downtownloveland.org.


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Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

Atlanta, GA
July 27, 2024

Do you fancy a glazed donut ice cream sandwich that's rolled in Fruity Pebble cereal? If the answer is yes, make your way to Piedmont Park for the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival to fill up on indulgent creations from local shops like Sweet Stack Creamery (the company behind handcrafted cookie and doughnut sandwiches), Glaciers Italian “Water” Ice, and Cereal and Cream (a shop that creates cereal infused milkshakes). Plan on spending the day discovering innovative ice creams, local food, handcrafted goods from local artisans, live music, wellness engagement activities, and interactive fun at the kids zone.

Learn more at atlantaicecreamfestival.com.

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Ice Cream Fest - Milkway Meltdown

Crystal Lake, IL
August 9, 2024
From homemade ice cream and frozen custard to dairy free scoops and ice pops, there is something for everyone at this lakeside wonderland! The day is centered around Main Beach that's transformed with vintage ice cream trucks, art installations, and themed areas like Kong Cove, the Lagoon, and the Enchanted Forest. You'll need to keep your "Ice Cream Land" map handy to make sure you don't miss a single treat from peach cobbler ice cream and frozen custard sandwiches to shaved ice and more! Make time to check out the ice cream eatin’ and hula-hoop contest, scavenger hunt, and custard-theme crafts.

Learn more at icecreamfest.co.


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Rotary Ice Cream Crawl

Lafayette, IN
August 17, 2024

This ice cream event puts a spin on the typical format. Rather going to a central location to sample a variety of treats, attendees use their "Ice Cream Passport" to visit several local ice cream shops for samplings of delicious ice cream delights while exploring the local community. Some of the event stops include Budges, Freddy's, Igloo, Original Frozen Custard, Silver Dipper, Sweet Revolution Bake Shop, and Westside Scoops. Proceeds from the crawl also benefit a park on the Wabash River Greenway Trail in the Indiana town that's home to Purdue University.

Learn more at homeofpurdue.com.

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Are you also looking to make a homemade ice cream delight? Rediscover an old favorite or new ice cream flavor with our decadent recipes to whip up your very own batch at home. Check out Easy-Freezy Vanilla Ice Cream (no ice cream maker required!), Sweet Corn Ice Cream (a surprisingly delish flavor), Brown Butter Maple Nut Ice Cream and Brandied Cherry-and-Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream (FYI: this is an adults only recipe).

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