'Largest' ice cream festival in country puts the cherry on top of summer

Hadas Kuznits
June 28, 2019 - 5:00 am
Alex Bassett Strange

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Reading Terminal Market pays homage to summer on Saturday with the second annual Philly Ice Cream Scoop festival. 

Billed the largest ice cream festival in the country, the day is dedicated to honoring a staple summer snack.

"The entire market will be focused on ice cream for the day," said Alex Bassett Strange, ice cream virtuoso and festival organizer.

Bassett Strange is the vice president of distribution for Bassetts Ice Cream Company — and the great-great-great-grandson of the company's founder, so he definitely knows a thing or two about frozen desserts.

"Bassetts Ice Cream started in 1861 — that was the year that Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as president," he said. "It was my great-great-great-grandfather that started this company, making me the sixth generation in my family to work for the business."

The festival will incorporate 14 ice cream vendors — like Sweet Charlie's, The Franklin Fountain and Weckerly’s Ice Cream — in the Center Court of Reading Terminal, plus a variety of menu items.

"We've got a purveyor who will be offering a mushroom-flavored ice cream," he added. "This year, we're also going to have Thai rolled ice cream."

But Bassett Strange said he's most excited about the games.

"We're going to do an ice cream sandwich tower-stacking contest, the blindfolded sundae-making contest, the eating contest."

You'll also be able to learn a lot about the history of ice cream at the festival; one of the first-ever flavors developed by the Bassetts founder was Jersey green tomato.

"He experimented with that flavor and we've since tried to replicate it to not the greatest success," Bassett Strange admitted.

Vanilla reigns supreme nowadays as the most popular flavor.

The Philly Ice Cream Scoop festival kicks off Wawa Welcome America as one of many activities celebrating the nation's birthday during the week surrounding the Fourth of July.

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