National root beer float day

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 9:05am

While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

A childhood favorite so special, it needs a spoon and a straw for consumption -- August 6 is National Root Beer Float Day!

The float itself has a couple of potential beginnings. Some say it started in 1874 in Philadelphia when Robert McCay Green used ice cream in his sodas because he’d ran out of cream. Others say he was trying to one up a soda vendor next to him. And still others claim a different person altogether invented the foamy beverage.

While its origin may be a little frothy, its popularity isn’t. Ice cream sodas, or floats, became so beloved with kids that adults decided they needed oversight. In more conservative parts of the country, floats were banned on Sundays and other religious holidays. Some historians believe that this led to soda fountain owners serving ice cream on Sundays, thus giving birth to the sundae.

Most people credit Frank. J. Wisner with inventing the root beer float. Staring out his window one night at Cow Mountain in Colorado, he noticed that the snowy peaks on the dark mountains looked like ice cream in a dark soda. The next day he combined root beer and vanilla ice cream, and the brown cow -- as the root beer float is also affectionately known as -- was born.

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