It's time to celebrate - Sunday is National Ice Cream Day! Stateline area ice cream shops will be dusting off their scoops and serving up their best cones, shakes and sundaes.
One local hotspot for cool summer treats and delicious goodies is the Flying Pig located at 431 East Grand Ave., Beloit.
Owner Lisa Dodd opened the first Flying Pig in the "little green trailer" in Roscoe, in May of 2008. After four years, Dodd moved to her brick and mortar building in Rockton, which she sold in July 2016 after the business moved to downtown Beloit.
"We primarily moved to 431 E. Grand to have more room and a bigger kitchen, which allowed us to expand our offerings," said Dodd. "We now offer a very large selection of delicious cookies, homemade every morning, and made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls every Friday through Sunday."
The Beloit location allows Flying Pig to offer customers hand-dipped ice cream, with 16 flavors to choose from.
Dodd said that new ice cream flavors are created thanks to suggestions from customers or employees. This season the Flying Pig will answered customer requests with the addition of a banana split sundae to their menu.
Customers also can look forward to bubble tea and expanded loose tea offerings, with 40-50 flavors sold by the cup or retail containers.
In addition to being able to grab an ice cream treat, visitors to Flying Pig can choose from over 80 flavors of shaved ice, fruit smoothies, shakes, malts, slushies, and frappes.
"We're so excited for summer as always because the downtown is hopping and the farmers market and Fridays in the Park are all fun," Dodd said. "It's just fun to be in the middle of everyone living their life, and getting out and having a good time."
Not far across the state line is M&M Dari Ripple, located at 470 Blackhawk Blvd., South Beloit. The business has been a local staple for 65 years.
Mike Peterson has carried on the business for the past 25 years, keeping with the 50s style walk-up window and small town, personal atmosphere.
"It's a place where several generations gather with family, take pictures in front of the sign, and enjoy friendly service and great ice cream; no one leaves hungry," said Peterson.
Looking forward to another great summer at M&M Dari Ripple, Peterson said he is very excited to be a part of the city's upcoming centennial celebration in August.
People come to M&M Dari Ripple for tradition and friendly customer service, not to mention the variety of ice cream offered. Anything you imagine with ice cream, they can do it.
"Every season kids come looking for my manager 'Miss Sharon' by name for her friendly smiles and she has been known to let kids and babies come in to help make their own cone," Peterson said. Throughout the season customers can expect eight to 10 flavors of ice cream at any given time, with options rotating through the season. Some crowd favorites include blue goo, cotton candy, green apple, butter pecan, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and sundaes.
"People come in and request what they have tried somewhere else, especially in sundaes, that is how mudslide was created," Peterson said.
Look for two new flavors on the marque this summer: dreamsicle and blue moon.
Several miles down the road from M&M Dari Ripple is Dairyhaus, 113 W. Main St., Rockton. There are plenty of smiling faces waiting with cool treats to beat the heat at the location.
"New ice creams like Prairie Street Brewhouse's Doppelbock Beer ice cream and Edward's Apple Orchard Apple Cobbler are keeping the shop updated with yummy new local flavors," said Dairyhaus owner Brent Murray.
When developing new flavors to please the crowd, Dairyhaus uses their favorite food and desserts for inspiration; or just tries out some wacky ideas they have to see what happens.
"This year we teamed up with Rockford Roasting Co. Coffee and improved upon an existing recipe to make our coffee ice cream better than ever," Murray said.
Customers also play an important role to what will be a success. Murray said he listens to suggestions and said the librarians next door at Talcott Free Library are the taste
Murray suggested that when newcomers visit Dairyhaus this season, they should try one of the regulars' favorites: a scoop of Wedding Cake, Salty Caramel Cashew or Praline Pecan ice cream in a homemade waffle cone.
"When those waffle cones are being baked it's so hard to not order one," Murray said. "I think these flavors are so popular because we make all of our ice cream fresh daily, and it's very important to me to make the best ice cream we possibly can."
For customers to enjoy these fresh treats, staff begins making ice cream and waffles cones at 6 a.m. They assemble the ingredients and use a five-gallon ice cream maker. The final destination is a 30-foot freezer where the ice cream is shock frozen to stay creamy.
"The ice cream machine works exactly how an old-time ice cream maker works, except this one has refrigeration instead of rock salt and ice, and a motor instead of arm power," Murray said.
Dairyhaus has had a fantastic season so far, with the business going through more waffle cones than any year prior. They are excited to continue building relationships with local businesses to make locally-inspired homemade ice cream.
"We're also very excited to be serving our community again for the 35th time," Murray said. "Hopefully we'll still be scooping the best homemade ice cream in another 35 years."