South Tampa ice cream parlor celebrates National Ice Cream Day

If you scream for ice cream, you’ll be shouting for joy on Sunday, a day set aside to celebrate sundaes and all varieties of the delicious dairy delight. 

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. In fact, the entire month of July is dedicated to the frosty treat. 

"Over 90 percent of Americans enjoy this treat, so he decided it was important enough to make this a national holiday," stated Paul Pettit, CEO of Dairy Joy.

Dairy Joy has been a staple in South Tampa since 1958.

"We want to make it about more than just the ice cream," Pettit said. "We want you to do two things here - take a picture with our Elvis and sit on our 1957 cars. It’s a fun, family experience…and we want it to be enjoyable and memorable. So, not just the ice cream, you’re coming here for the experience."

Old cars outside South Tampa's Dairy Joy.

Dairy Joy has more than 30 flavors of ice cream, plus soft-serves and Dole Whip, but Pettit says the No. 1 seller is the milkshake. 

"We can combine over 100 different [shake] flavors at this property," Pettit explained.

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The 65-year-old ice cream parlor is also known for its banana splits, sundaes and smoothies.

Child eating chocolate ice cream.

"Depending on the sports season, we’ll go ahead and find a themed ice cream we’ll serve here. We’ll have a blue one, the hockey team was recently playing here. It has blue sprinkles with a blue cone and we also have a blue raspberry dip we started recently. During the football season, we’ll have a red pirate themed ice cream as well. Usually, it’s vanilla with the red sprinkles on top with some pirate-themed little buccaneer flag on top. For the Rays, we’ll do the blue raspberry-dipped waffle cone with our blue sprinkles."

For National Ice Cream Day, Dairy Joy plans to have water balloons, Frisbees and face painting at its main location and drive-thru location.

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