County Executive Tom Gordon was pleased with the turnout of 20,000 people attracted to New Castle County's Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park on a sunny Saturday with temperatures in the low 80s. The event continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The County Executive pointed to perfect weather, outstanding vendor participation and national television exposure on the Food Network as all good reasons for this year's success at the Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood, a vital part of the New Castle County parks & recreation system. County Executive Gordon walked the festival grounds Saturday with top aides from his administration.
"I want everybody to know what a wonderful time we're having out here," County Executive Gordon said. "I give Community Services General Manager Sophia Hanson a lot of credit for the success we've had here. And the crowds you hear cheering are enjoying Anthony Anderson as he films on location for the Food Network's new 'Food Fest Nation' show. Everyone is having a lot of fun."
County Attorney Bernard Pepukayi, among those with the Executive on Saturday, commended the County Executive for a successful festival.
"It's a beautiful day today, and a lot of good things are going on out here," County Attorney Pepukayi said. "The County Executive's leadership helped put this wonderful, family oriented event together."
GM Hanson said there were nine ice cream vendors, 25 restaurants and food vendors, children's games and face painting, the Lone Ranger, Spiderman, the Juggling Hoffmans, the Brandywine Traveling Zoo, Annie’s Menagerie, Mad Science, Jungle John, and several live bands curated by the Wilmington School of Rock.
"We have thousands of people here," she said. "Come out and join us."
Hanson, General Manager of the Department of Community Services, collaborated with her team to create the 2014 unofficial slogan, “New Castle County is the Ice Cream of the Crop.”
In addition to GM Hanson and CA Pepukayi, Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi, Chief of Staff Jim McDonald, and Executive Assistant Frank Cooke accompanied the Executive on Saturday.
The Ice Cream Festival was a mainstay during County Executive Gordon's first two terms in office from 1997 to 2004. The festival was discontinued some time after he left office, but was restarted by Barry's Events three years ago. New Castle County and Barry's Events are co-sponsors of the festival.
On Sunday, nine dairies and creators of ice cream treats, from in and around Delaware, will put their best to the test at the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival, competing in the festival’s first “Best Sundae on Sunday” contest.
The battle to create the tastiest ice cream concoction will give participants some national attention, as the Food Network’s new “Food Fest Nation” show, including host Anthony Anderson, has been on location to capture the competition and the enthusiasm of ice-cream lovers of all ages.
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. Each of the vendors had long lines of people waiting patiently for quality ice cream.
In addition to the vendors, games and activities, 20 crafters, 40 local businesses and 20 nonprofit organizations have displayed their wares and interacted with the crowds.
Festival hours are 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.