If you were duped into celebrating “National Chocolate Ice Cream Day” yesterday, you were living a lie. This alleged holiday is wholly illegitimate, recognized by no federal authority or ice cream governing body.
The International Ice Cream Association denies responsibility for this faux celebration. Speaking on behalf of the association’s parent group, the International Dairy Foods Association, Peggy Armstrong says she never heard of the “holiday” until yesterday, when mentions of it appeared online. Armstrong is very familiar with National Ice Cream Day, which Ronald Reagan designated as the third Sunday in July. “That’s something formal we were involved with,” she says. This chocolate ice cream day, she says, is not.
So who started this day? Cursory Google searches reveal the earliest mention to be 2005, but the web’s tangled tubes offer no suggestion of the day’s origins. A Nexis search reveals a few mentions in newspapers from the few last years, but most of them note that the holiday appears to have come from nowhere.
Could this be some kind of scheme hatched from the ice cream retail industry to boost sales? (Armstrong suggests that an ice cream shop might have invented the holiday.) Not according to the National Ice Cream Retailers Association.
“You know, I never heard of it before,” says Lynda Utterback, association spokesperson. “I’m thinking someone made it up.” Utterback has found no documentation for National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.
This is not the first time that the ice cream associations have seen their authority usurped by outsiders. National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, a pseudo-holiday in February, originated not with a government official or an ice cream advocacy group but a family in Rochester, New York, that tried to cheer kids up during the gloomy month with dessert first thing in the morning. It is not recognized by the government but observed world-wide.
Utterback isn’t upset that someone has gone around her association to create this chocolate ice cream day. “I think it’s a good idea,” she says.