Keeping it Cool at the Austin Ice Cream Festival

Joey and Melissa Montez relaxed in the shade with a few good friends, passing around their one-year-old son, Andy. They were all smiles.

Four or five rounds of ice cream will do that.

Montez and three other couples found a choice place to chill out in the shade under a tree and listed all the ice cream sandwiches, scoops, popsicles and barbeque they’d tasted.

This wasn’t their first Austin Ice Cream Festival, and they shared their strategy to minimize time spent in the sun waiting in line. They break off into pairs and enter different lines and buy a round for the whole gang.

“You’ve gotta crowdsource it,” said Bryan Heckler, who lives in North Shoal Creek.

Thousands of people came to Fiesta Gardens for the festival, now in its 8th year. It’s one of the most family-friendly events of the summer. There’s popsicle stick art, ice cream eating contests, a bungee trampoline, bands, a few miniature horses for the kids to ride and dozens of vendors selling toys, clothing and handing out promotional swag.

Ice cream stands included Amy’s Ice Creams, Good Pops, The Melting Cone, NadaMoo, Austin Scoops, and Weezie’s Frozen Custard. Folks paid a $10 entry fee that came with three tickets, good for three ice cream treats. Proceeds from the festival go to local charities, including the Austin Children’s Shelter, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Habibis Hutch.

A lot of people walked out with an extra ticket and shared with people entering the festival.

For those craving a little more salt, Double Trouble BBQ sold some tasty brisket and pulled pork sandwiches and Heros Gyros served up beef, lamb and falafel.

It’s an easy family outing, said Joey Montez, who brought his family down from Cedar Park.

“It’s ice cream,” he said. “Everybody enjoys ice cream.”

The birthday cake ice cream from Austin Scoops was one of the group’s favorites.

Ryan Goldston, who was handing out coffee popsicles from Good Pop, said that business had been steady, despite the August heat. They expected to hand out as many as 3,000 popsicles.

“They’re having a great time here,” he said, handing off another couple popsicles.