· New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival:
There's plenty of ice cold concoctions coming to the Jersey Shore this summer, and thankfully none of it has to do with Snooki or any of her cronies. It's all about kids, families, and ice cream this summer in Tom's River, and you're welcome to swing by this month on Saturday, July 16 between 11:30am and 5pm on Washington Street. Admission and parking are free, but a tasting kit is going to cost you $6 if you order in advance.
There'll be a stilt walker doing his thing up and down the festival, so be sure to watch your ice cream cones as to advert any spilled desert disasters. There's also plenty of live music, inflatable rides for the kids, and an appearance by the New Jersey State Dairy Princess. For those who want just a little more than one sundae, the festival also has an ice cream eating contest for both kids and adults. Be sure to remember all your tastings, as you'll also want to vote for both favorite local and national ice creams.
· Chicago Ice Cream and Gelato Festival:
This one is a little more sophisticated than some other festivals this summer, and that's because Chicago's ode to ice cream is also known as the Luxury Ice Cream Festival. Sure there's plenty of opportunity to indulge in high butterfat flavors, but it's hard to be too serious when it's all about ice cream-so don't worry. There are two chances to get your scoop on, as the events run on the evenings of Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 19. Tickets are $25 for either date, so start saving up now.
Pastry chefs, chocolatiers, and artisan suppliers will all be on hand to blow away your taste buds with selections that are a little more complicated and way more creamy than the usual grocery store varieties. Between bites be sure to leave room for plenty of live demonstrations and workshops, as well as the Great Chicago Brain Freeze, where chefs will battle it out for your votes. As of now there's about 20 different vendors planning to attend, along with around 15 "micro-creameries," so you know this is going to be a good time.
· Atlanta Ice Cream Festival:
They've only been doing this for a couple years now, but anything cool and delicious in Hotlanta is certainly a good idea during the summer months. All the fun will happen in Piedmont Park on Saturday, September 10 between 12pm and 6pm, as citizens and tourist gather to lick up all the festival has to offer. As with some of the other festival this summer, this one is totally free. Although we'd probably bring along a little extra cash just in case you need something else to go along with all the sweet stuff.
Entertainment here includes plenty of local cheerleading squads along with the state championship step teams. Organizers also promise all kinds of silly competitions, but those who need something a little more serious there will also be an ice cream-eating contest. Just be sure to pace yourself as you pound through the pints, as you don't want to suffer from the dreaded brain freeze.
· 2011 Big Dipper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival:
On Saturday, July 16 the desert decadence arrives in Worcester, Massachusetts at Elm Park where everyone is welcome to raise a little money for a good cause-Children's Friend. It's $5 for the big kids in your party, but the little ones will just be a $1. Ice cream will be provided by both local and national vendors, so no matter what your favorite is it'll probably be available.
In addition to all the cool treats there will be plenty of rides and attractions for all ages along with a little bit of music here and there. Balloons, clowns, food tents, and face painting round out all of the offerings, so there will be plenty of stuff to do between each spoonful. Things have been happening here for over 20 years, so there's little doubt that organizers really know what they're doing now when it comes to all things ice cream.