We bet your church or school has never had an ice cream social quite like this.
For decades, groups have congregated around ice cream to break the ice, get to know one another better, and share a special time. But a very unusual ice cream social on June 21 took the event to a new level, combining sweet treats with high-powered political lobbying. For the 30th year in a row, Congress members and their guests enjoyed a huge ice cream party on Capitol Hill, taking a break from the hard work of running a country. No doubt, however, a little shop talk did take place.
That’s because the event was put on, as it always is, by lobbyists representing the dairy industry. A huge sector of the national economy, the dairy trade, which encompasses milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream among other delicious products, values the opportunity to remind lawmakers just how important their tastiest offering is. And members of Congress seem all too happy to oblige them—by the end of the party, over 2,000 gallons of ice cream and yogurt had disappeared. It was topped, of course, with an equally huge amount of delicious sundae toppings.
An unusually hot spring was the perfect prelude to this year’s ice cream social, making it an even more effective effort on the part of the dairy industry to keep their concerns at the forefront of both legislative bodies’ agendas. The social may have been mostly fun and games, but dairy farmers’ issues are no picnic. Political action committees, or PACs, funded by dairy donations, are important members of the election campaigns of many lawmakers. As each senator or representative headed back inside the Capitol Building (whose dome looks kind of like a vanilla scoop, don’t you think?) sipping on one of the 6,000 root beer floats that were served during the day, lobbyists hope that they will be inclined to do more to strengthen this important and delicious industry.
Interested in finding out more about the ice cream industry? Our website has a fascinating history of the dessert, which will give you a renewed respect for the carton in your freezer. It’s come a long way since its primitive beginnings in ancient China. And if you want to get into the spirit of Congress’s annual ice cream social, why not head to your local corner ice cream shop and have a scoop or two?