Festival goers were feeling anything but guilty last weekend as they saddled up for heaping scoops of ice cream at Rockwood Park. The annual New Castle County Ice Cream Festival drew 20,000 patrons over two days this year and might have been the best ever — with glorious weather, live music presented by Gable Music Ventures, expanded children’s activities, a dozen ice cream and dessert vendors, and plenty of shade so those cones of delight would last just a little longer.
One-hundred exhibitor booths dotted the grounds of the Rockwood Estate with many selling food stuffs, jewelry, crafts, home accents and services for the home. And there were plenty of food vendors, including Ulysses Gastro Pub, Locale BBQ (pulled chicken bar-be-cue on a brioche bun was delicious), Rebel Cove, and Home Grown Cafe. And this year the little ones enjoyed additional carnival games, a bungee trampoline, a DART train ride, laughs with super heroes and the Philly Phanatic, and autographs by Philadelphia Union player Fabian Herbers and the Eagles’ Wendell Smallwood.
Ice Cream Festival organizer Barry Schlecker attributes much of the event’s success to his focus on family. “We like to call this a family picnic. We gave out free ice cream samples to children 12 and under, and we offered more activities for kids so families would stay all day. Both of those seemed to have a positive effect on our attendance.”
Schlecker also plans to donate a portion of event proceeds and t-shirt sales to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in addition to the $5,000 check presented to the hospital by WSFS.