July 4th is coming! July 4th is true red, white, and blue summer! Once July 4th passes, Wisconsin doom-sayers starts forecasting frost. Gotta’ grab that summer fun NOW!

What’s my recipe for summer fun? Gotta’ eat ice cream! Gotta’ eat lots of ice cream. NOW! Before we crave hot soup. (Shudder).

It shouldn’t surprise you that Wisconsin is home of the original ice cream sundae. It’s true. Back in 1881, Wisconsin ex-pat George Hallauer sat in Ed Berners’ ice cream parlor in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. As Ed worked behind the soda fountain preparing George’s dish of ice cream, George asked Ed to top that ice cream with a bit of chocolate syrup. Ed said, “Why do you want to do that? You’ll ruin the ice cream.” But George insisted. And they saw that it was good.

Ed began serving this ice cream concoction at his ice cream parlor, but only on Sundays. That is until a little girl asked mid-week for one. When Ed told her it wasn’t Sunday, she grinned and said, “Let’s pretend”. And pretending is what we Wisconsinites, – and the rest of the world – have been doing with ice cream ever since.

Well, this 4th of July falls on a Sunday, – you word-players see where I’m going with this. Keep reading to see how baseball and kids fit into the recipe for fun things to do in Wisconsin

You can’t think about ice cream sundaes without wanting an ice cream sundae. Go ahead try to do it. (Thinking about rodent guts on crystallized ice milk is cheating.) I’m challenging you to imagine super-thick, deep-chocolate hot fudge covering freshly-opened, rich and creamy, ice cream churned from the fresh milk of Wisconsin cows who graze on lush, Wisconsin pasture. Mentally experience that ice cream! Is your ice cream vanilla ice cream? Or chocolate ice cream? Or blue moon? – If you’re a kid in Wisconsin, yours will be blue moon ice cream. 

You can get the ice cream of your dreams at the University of Wisconsin’s Babcock Dairy Hall. Or you can get it at Wisconsin’s own Chocolate Shoppe.

Yesterday I was thinking of such ice cream sundaes because I’d started out thinking about the 4th of July. This year July 4th falls on a Sunday. One thought leads to another and by late afternoon I’d promised the kids  I’d take them to our town’s diner for ice cream sundaes before the little-league baseball game. We’re lucky, our ice cream parlor serves Chocolate Shopped ice cream.

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream

7-year-old Dave had to be a purist and order an ice cream cone. But 10-year-old Lauren and I, wise to the finer things in life, each indulged in old-fashioned, hot fudge sundaes. Taste-bud ecstasy.

Yes, we got all sugared up, but WE had some place to go! Off to the town hall’s fields! Off to the baseball diamonds where kids big and little play that all-American sport, – BASEBALL! Game on. Siblings played on the playground and fields beside the diamonds. Parents sat in the grass or on folding lawn chairs, chatting and cheering. THAT is summer fun. – Bucolic, corny and cliche, and…relaxing.

So what are you doing this July 4th? I hope you watch a baseball game with kids, and eat lots of ice cream. Enjoy.