Summer is nearing its end. For you summerphiles aghast that I should mention this – after all, summer is not technically over until September 22 in the northern hemisphere – I must tell you that I anticipate all seasons equally. Perhaps pumpkin spice latte season more equally. . . Anyhow, here are five activities that make a summer, and this summer in particular for us, classically American.
1. While we enjoy American ice cream year round, summer is when its flavor and chill is most refreshing and desired. Yes, American, ice cream. Is there any other kind, you ask? Well, we’ve traveled the world and nothing in the freezer section of the supermarkets in South Africa, Germany or Japan can quite compare to the American dairy delight. Soft serve, gelato, beni imo and other sweet, frozen treats have their place. But an American summer must have American full-dairy ice cream to be complete. Ice cream with peanut butter at Bruster’s in Virginia Beach, Virginia cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Free Blue Bell ice cream was passed out by the scoop at the Denver Children’s Museum several days this summer, of which we gladly partook. Cookie dough, cookies ‘n cream, peanut butter – these flavors are nearly impossible to find outside these great 50 States (except at the rare Ben and Jerry’s or Baskin Robbins that have popped overseas where you can fork over five bucks and enjoy a scoop). And it’s not uncommon in these United States for individuals to posses their very own ice cream makers and concoct amazing creations such as chocolate kahlua ice cream (yes, a friend shared some of her own making with us this summer). A perfect summer incorporates perfect ice cream.
2. A county fair offers a glimpse into local culture and values like few other events can. Large and small, free or charged admission, rural or urban – county fairs run the gamut, obviously conditioned by the geographic location of the county. We attended the Larimer County fair in Colorado this year. Free admission! Children who labored all year raising the perfect sheep or chicken seek to win the coveted blue ribbon. There are more categories than one could ever imagine in which submissions are judged – sewing, canning, original lego creations, cake-making (in which my cousin won the blue ribbon in the chocolate cake category!), cake decorating, best tomato, etc, etc, etc. Amusements, including the obligatory ferris wheel, are nearly always represented at the county fair. The fair – a truly traditional summer family event.