We don’t typically talk a lot about feuds and rivalries here, but this one is too delicious to pass up.
It turns out the history of a certain classic ice cream split is, well, bananas.
Today is the start of the Banana Split Festival in Wilmington, Ohio.
Thousands and thousands of people are set to partake in the classic recipe: three scoops of ice cream, a banana cut (or split) lengthwise, sauce, whipped cream, cherries and nuts.
Wilmington hosts the festival because it’s community where the banana split was born.
As locals explain, cafe owner Ernest R. Hazard came up with his sweet concoction in 1907 to attract more business from local college students, though legend has it his cousin said the name “banana split” would never catch on.
It did, of course, and this year is the 25th annual festival in Wilmington.
Simple enough, right?
But there’s a whole other side to this story.
Drive several hundred miles east to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and locals will tell you their town is where the banana split was born, three years before Wilmington, and its inventor was pharmacy clerk David Strickler.
Latrobe doesn’t host an annual festival commemorating the banana split, though Strickler and his creation were the subjects of a well-regarded one-time event at the University of Pittsburgh, where he went to pharmacy school, called “From Pitt Came The Split.”
Neither town has budged on their claim, but the good news is neither town is too fierce about those claims, either.
It’s a friendly rivalry, and if nothing else, having two towns touting the banana split probably gives the dessert a boost.
And it gives eaters a good excuse to have more than one. It’s research!
Now, onto the TV show named for the dessert.
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour melted the minds of many a young person in the 1960s, though, interestingly, that wasn’t the original name of the show.
Joe Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera fame, wrote in his memoir that originally the show was supposed to be called the Banana Bunch Adventure Hour, until the author of a children’s book called Banana Bunch opted not to share the name with the TV producers.
Changing the name was a big headache for the show, especially because Kellogg’s had already printed more than a million cereal boxes with the wrong name on them.
Though that was far from the weirdest thing associated with that particular program.
Birthplace of the Banana Split (Ohio Magazine)
The Banana Split: A Rich History (Pennsylvania Center for the Book)
Banana split photo by Ruth Hartnup via Flickr/Creative Commons