Nine dairies and creators of ice cream treats from in and near Delaware will put their best to the test this weekend at the Old Fashioned ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park, competing in the festival’s first “Best Sundae on Sunday” contest.
The battle to create the tastiest ice cream concoction will not only highlight the two-day festival but it will also give the participants some national attention, as the Food Network’s new “Food Fest Nation” show, including host Anthony Anderson, will be on hand on June 28-29 to capture the competition and the enthusiasm of ice-cream lovers of all ages attending what event producer Barry Schlecker calls “Delaware’s largest family picnic.”
Participating in the contest will be: HyPoint Dairy, Kilby Cream, UDairy Creamery, Caffé Gelato, the Ice Cream Shop, Sweet Lucy’s, Palateria y Neuvaria Tocumbo, Cajun Sno and Vanderwende Dairy.
A team of professional cooks and food critics will judge the entries for presentation, imagination and taste sensation. Besides earning a year’s worth of bragging rights, the winner will receive free vendor space at next year’s festival.
All things considered, County Executive Tom Gordon says this could be the best ever Old Fashioned Ice Cream New Castle County has ever had. The event is sponsored by County government and Barry’s Events.
“What impressed me about Barry is that in addition to turning this into a great family event, he also shows off all the different business establishments in Wilmington and New Castle County for a two-day period,” County Executive Gordon said. “That’s something that we all know we need very much as we’re all facing an economy with some uncertainty.
“Hopefully, 25,000 or more people will get to enjoy this family picnic and learn more about the establishments participating in the Ice Cream Festival, not to mention the national exposure,” County Executive Gordon said. “I’m just very proud of the work Barry does, as well as our folks in the Department of Community Services.”
In addition to fresh ice cream treats, the festival will feature music all day on two stages — one for adults and the other for younger audiences. Other entertainment at the festival includes an appearance by The Lone Ranger and his great horse Silver and performances by the Juggling Hoffmans, the Brandywine Traveling Zoo, Annie’s Menagerie, Mad Science and Jungle John.
With 25 restaurant and snack vendors, as well as a beer garden, the festival offers food and beverages for everyone’s taste. A variety of games and activities will wrap around the children’s stage, and adults can check out the work of more than 20 crafters and learn more about 40 local businesses and 20 nonprofit organizations.
“We have a great family picnic atmosphere, so plan to bring a blanket and spend the day on Rockwood’s beautiful grounds,” Schlecker says. People-friendly dogs (leashed, of course) are welcome.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 29. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children under 12. Free shuttle bus service will be provided between Rockwood and parking lots at Merchants Square, Mount Pleasant High School and the Rockwood Office Park.
For more festival details, go to rockwoodicecream.com.