Ice Cream-Eating Challenges To Cool You Off

With warm weather finally on the horizon for most of the country, we can happily say goodbye — and good riddance — to winter. Spring and summer mean lots of warm-weather foods, like ice cream, that are best enjoyed on sunny days.

Indulging in a second or even third serving of ice cream is one thing, eating a gallon or more in one sitting is quite another. Ice cream-eating challenges aren’t for the feint of heart, or stomach. And competitors quickly realize that brain freeze (aka an ice cream headache) is very real.

Here’s a list of ice cream-eating challenges to test your mettle and eat as much of the cold stuff as you can. As with any eating competition, look at the rules before entering and competing. And definitely bring a spoon.

Isle Of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

May 1-3, 2015

When you think of shrimp festivals, you probably don’t immediately think of ice cream eating contests. But during the 52nd Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, held in Fernandina Beach, Florida, you will. The festival’s ice cream-eating contest, now in its seventh year, offers a hefty prize of free Cold Stone Creamery ice cream for a year from. The festival includes a parade of boats, and all things pirate, including a parade and a pirate invasion.

Austin Ice Cream Festival

August 8, 2015

Texas in August is definitely ice cream weather. Cool off in style with the ice cream-eating contest at the Austin Ice Cream Festival. While you’ve probably slurped up a bowl or two of ice cream in your day, can you down a gallon in record time? Here’s your chance to try. Champion eater Joey Chestnut took home the coveted spoon one year. A homemade ice cream making contest and a Popsicle stick sculpture are also part of the festival’s events.

Read more about competitive eating.

Graeter’s Ice Cream Challenge

August 14, 2015

Held in Cincinnati during the dog days of summer, Graeter’s Ice Cream Challenge is just what you need to combat the heat. In this contest, competitors are challenged to eat a pint of ice cream as fast as they can. The winner gets bragging rights, a handsome trophy and free ice cream Graeter’s Ice Cream for a year. Time to polish up that spoon.

If your quest for an ice cream-eating challenge extends beyond summer festivals, then consider saddling up to these restaurant challenges held all year long.

The Kitchen Sink

The phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” takes on a new meaning with the Kitchen Sink challenge at San Francisco Creamery Co. in Walnut Creek, California. Three bananas, eight scoops of ice cream, eight toppings, plus plenty of whipped cream, toasted almonds and cherries are all placed in a specially designed sink. If you eat this beast by yourself and beat the current record time, then it’s free and you get free ice cream for a year.

Rocky Top Challenge

The Rocky Top challenge makes The Kitchen Sink look like a light midnight snack. And that’s no small feat. You have one hour to eat 16 scoops of ice cream, plus three brownies, three bananas, plus eight different toppings and a secret ingredient. (That description alone is enough to give you indigestion.) If you finish the whole thing, you get it for free. Your friends at the It’s All So Yummy Cafe in Knoxville, Tennessee serve this mountain of ice cream goodness for challenges and special events.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at


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