Between the Blue Bell ice cream lickers and unsavory acts done to ice cream, it’s been a hard month for the frozen treat.
But Sunday is the time for the dessert to rally.
July 21 is National Ice Cream Day and businesses across the nation are celebrating with freebies, discounts and contests.
The day became official 35 years ago when President Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day and the month of July as National Ice Cream Month.
Back in 1984, Reagan’s proclamation noted the ice cream industry generated $3.5 billion in annual sales.
According to Womply, a small business software provider, local ice cream shops are expected to be busy.
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“As the summer heats up, consumers are more likely to go out of their way to chill out with a frozen treat,” said Brad Plothow, vice president of brand and communications for Womply. “According to our data, foot traffic at local ice cream shops should be up more than double on National Ice Cream Day, so plan ahead if you find yourself looking for a frozen treat on Sunday.”
Here are discounts and freebies available at participating locations Sunday unless otherwise noted. Offers can vary and most times are offered while supplies last. To be on the safe side, always check with your closest location before heading out. Also, some will require you to have a restaurant’s app or be signed up for emails.
16 Handles: From open until 5 p.m. Sunday, get your first 3 ounces free Sunday when you scan a code in the chain’s loyalty app. Download the app at www.16handles.com.
Dylan’s Candy Bar: Select locations are giving away free scoops from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Mention “National Ice Cream Day” at the ice cream counter.
Dippin’ Dots: Get a free mini cup of Dippin’ Dots during a two-hour window at select stores and shopping center locations. Times vary by location. Learn more at www.dippindots.com/NICD-2019.
Omni Hotels & Resorts: Through Sunday, get free passion fruit ice cream in the lobbies of 32 Omni properties as a part of their Summer of Passion Fruit program. Find the participating hotels at www.omnihotels.com.
PetSmart: This ice cream freebie is only for dogs. At stores with PetsHotel facilities, dogs can get a free 4-ounce serving of dog-safe ice cream topped with dog biscuit treats Saturday and Sunday, while supplies last.
Publix: From 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, get free ice cream samples of Publix’s premium brand Cookie Butter Crème ice cream in stores.
Baskin-Robbins: Get two pre-packed quarts of any ice cream for $7.99 Sunday.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: Rewards members get double points Sunday. Plus, check out other promotions at www.brusters.com.
Carvel: Buy one soft-serve ice cream cup or cone and get a second cup or cone free Sunday.
Cold Stone Creamery: New and existing My Cold Stone Club Rewards email members get a buy-one-get-one free coupon Sunday. Sign up by Saturday at www.coldstonecreamery.com to get the offer.
CREAM: The chain has a buy-one-get-one deal Sunday and Monday on scoops. No coupon or app needed.
Creamistry: Customers enrolled in the chain’s loyalty program can get one free Ruby Cacao ice cream with any ice cream purchase Sunday. Customers will be able to sign up in store on Sunday.
Cumberland Farms: On Sunday, text the word SCOOPS to 64827 to get $1 off any pint of Ultimate Scoops at any of the chain’s nearly 600 retail locations across the Northeast and Florida. Existing members of the text database will receive the coupon Sunday morning. The offer is valid through July 28.
Dairy Queen: Find deals including buy-one-get-one free offers on the chain’s mobile app to use at participating locations. Limit one offer per person per visit. There’s a different app for Texas residents.
Godiva: Buy a soft-serve cup or cone and parfaits Sunday and get 50% off the second Sunday.
goPuff: Get a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s with every order of $20 or more Sunday.
Graeter’s Ice Cream: The Cincinnati-based chain celebrates its 149th birthday Sunday with a single scoop sugar cone for $1.49.
Johnny Rockets: Get a free milkshake with purchase of an entrée Sunday.
LongHorn Steakhouse: For a limited time, participating locations have a special Steak & Bourbon ice cream for $3.99 at participating locations. The ice cream has bits of steak and bourbon caramel. Learn more at www.longhornsteakhouse.com/steakicecream.
Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip: Buy one scoop, get one free Sunday. The deal continues through the end of the month.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Get a free large shake with any entree purchase Sunday.
Pressed Juicery: Get a $2 Freeze Sunday, no coupon needed.
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream: Buy one, get one free Sunday.
Veggie Grill: Get double points in the app Sunday when you order a Choco-Churro Sundae.
Wendy’s: For a limited time, get a small Frosty for 50 cents.
Whole Foods Market: Through July 30, Prime members get 35% off all ice cream and novelties.
Yogurtland: Get a buy-one-get-one free deal from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at all U.S. locations.
More deals: Locally owned businesses and regional chains also may have specials for National Ice Cream Day. One of the easiest ways to find out is to check restaurants’ social media channels. Also, some ice cream brands will have specials at grocery stores.
Enlightened: Starting on Sunday, fill out a form at www.eatenlightened.com to get a coupon for a free pint or box of bars and send someone special the same coupon with a personalized message.
Halo Top: The high protein ice cream is celebrating National Ice Cream Day Sunday by giving away thousands of free Halo Top Pops. The brand is partnering with social networking app, Bumble, to give away Halo Top Pops through the Bumble app. The Halo Top website also will give away 5,000 pops. Learn more at www.halotop.com/nicd.
Peekaboo: The brand, which puts veggies in its organic ice cream, is giving away a year’s worth of free ice cream to one person who will get a five pack sampler delivered every month. No purchase necessary. Enter here by 11:59 p.m. ET July 31.
Sensodyne: The sensitive toothpaste brand has a giveaway on Twitter Sunday. To participate, tweet #SensodyneforIceCream, plus the ice cream emoji, for a chance to win one free pint of ice cream, Sensodyne Rapid Relief, a soft pack cooler and an insulated tumbler, while supplies last. The freebie includes same-day delivery and the contest is in participating cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
So Delicious: The dairy-free dessert is giving away 500 coupons for free pints Sunday with an Instagram contest. Share who you’d like to “#ShareAPint” and the first 500 will get a coupon for a free pint. To enter, share a picture on Instagram of you and your bestie, tag and follow @So_Delicious and tag #ShareAPint #FreePintPromo to get a coupon for a free pint, while supplies last.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko