To kick off the celebration of National Ice Cream Month in July, IDFA will host its 37th Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party on Wednesday, June 19, 4-6 p.m. The Ice Cream Party has been an essential summertime event for members of Congress, their families, Capitol Hill staff and many other special guests since it began in 1982. For IDFA, it’s a valuable opportunity to showcase the dairy industry and its delicious products to federal policymakers.

The event will take place at Union Square Park on Capitol Hill. The park is located west of the Capitol in the area encompassing the Capitol Reflecting Pool and the Grant Memorial.

1,800 Gallons of Ice Cream

With sweeping views of the National Mall, it's a perfect spot to enjoy dozens of flavors of delicious ice cream and root beer floats. The party averages about 4,000 guests each year, making it one of the most popular and anticipated events in Washington. Some staffers on the Hill refer to the IDFA Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party as the unofficial start to summer.

Approximately 20 IDFA member companies have donated 1,800 gallons of ice cream this year—up from 1,700 last year—to help keep up with the growing number of attendees the party attracts. With each gallon containing 32 scoops of ice cream, that’s 57,600 scoops in total. With temperatures promising to be in the mid-80s for the event, IDFA volunteers expect to serve more than 3,000 root beer floats as well.

“The Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party is our way of showing appreciation on behalf of America’s dairy industry to our public servants, members of Congress and all the individuals working in Congress and within our local federal agencies,” said Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO. “And it’s a great excuse for all of us to enjoy a few scoops of America’s most popular frozen treat—ice cream!”

“We are so excited to celebrate the 37th year of this event,” said Tracy Boyle, IDFA director of employee relations and administrative services. Boyle is a veteran of the Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, having helped organize 31 of 37 events.

Ice Cream Facts

As National Ice Cream Month approaches in July, it’s worth considering how we first fell in love with this frozen treat. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:

1. Ice cream was first discovered by Marco Polo (1254–1324) with a recipe that closely resembled sherbet. In England, King Charles I (1600-1649) regularly enjoyed what he called “cream ice.”

2. On July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5219 that designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. The proclamation reads:

“Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food. Over eight hundred and eighty-seven million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983.”


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President and Mrs. Reagan. Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

3. Some stats: In 2017, about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the United States. Ice cream is an $11 billion industry in the United States that supports 26,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in direct wages.

4. During World War II, according to the U.S. Naval Institute News, the U.S. Navy found that ice cream was popular among sailors. It was so popular that the Navy borrowed a refrigerated concrete barge from the Army Transportation Corps in 1945 to serve as a floating ice cream parlor. At a cost of $1 million, the barge was towed around the Pacific to provide ice cream to ships smaller than a destroyer that lacked ice cream-making facilities. The Navy proudly announced that the vessel could manufacture 10 gallons of ice cream every seven minutes and had storage capacity of 2000 gallons.

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Sailor eating ice cream. Courtesy of U.S. Navy.

5. The 10 most popular flavors of ice cream in the United States are:


For more information, contact Boyle at