The Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl Comes Back to Boston
No need to scream, folks, because for three days in June, you can have absolutely all the ice cream you can eat. Yes, that’s right; the Scooper Bowl–the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival–is back in town for the 32nd annual festival on June 3, 4, and 5 from 12 to 8 p.m. each day, when the best vendors in the New England area will hand out sweet treats to raise money for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The tasty tradition started in 1983 when the festival organizers milked cows on the Common and served ice cream to children who didn’t have access to farms.
Then, the Director of Marketing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital got a call from the Federation of Milk Market Administration asking to scoop ice cream at the festival. And from there, trustee and Hendries Ice Cream founder Don White, who went on to work for Hood, decided to make the event a fundraiser.
“Back then it was $1, and there were a thousand attendees. Now it’s a three-day festival with 74,000 attendees,” says Suzanne Fountain, director of the Jimmy Fund.
The Scooper Bowl is a rite of passage for summer.
One thing that Fountain has seen change over the years is what attendees are asking for. “[Before,] everybody always wanted full-fat ice cream. If you weren’t eating 14 percent, full-fat ice cream, you weren’t eating ice cream,” Fountain says. Over the years, however, people have become more health-conscious, asking for yogurt, novelties, and sherbet as well. This year, the festival will expand its offerings with more than 45 flavors available.
For the Jimmy Fund, the Scooper Bowl functions as an event that all Boston residents can take part in because, as Fountain says, “anyone can eat ice cream. … You don’t have to have an athletic ability, or talent, or you don’t have to run an event. You can be any age. It’s just fun.”
Attendees at the Scooper Bowl typically include members of the Scooper School program—where kids raise money throughout the year and then attend the event as a trip in the end—as well as businesspeople coming out for a lunchtime snack or after work pick-me-up, and everyone in between.
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This year’s festival will also include music, some Red Sox wives as celebrity scoopers, and attendance by new mayor Marty Walsh. The Jimmy Fund will also kick off a new promotion, a globe filled with beach balls called “Give and Guess,” asking attendees to text in and guess the number of beach balls in order to win a trip to Jamaica.
While thousands come out for the entertainment and philanthropy, Fountain explains that at the end of the day, “they come to eat ice cream. We have entertainment and other things going on, but they’re there to eat ice cream … You’ll see groups literally stacking the cups as kind of a badge of honor.”
“The Scooper Bowl is a rite of passage for summer,” Fountain says.
For more than 30 years, the Jimmy Fund has used the Scooper Bowl to kick off their summer season, which includes countless other events including golf tournaments, a telethon, Fenway’s Jimmy Month in August, and more, all culminating in a walk in September. All funds raised by the Jimmy Fund go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and cancer research.
$20 three-day pass, $10 adults, $5 children, free for children under three. The Scooper Bowl will take place 12-8 p.m. on June 3, 4, and 5 at City Hall Plaza. Passes sold at the event, at Walgreens stores, and online at scooperbowl.org.