The 2018 Austin Ice Cream Festival Announces 'Best of ATX Frozen Treat' Contest Judges, Samplers and Festival Partners

June 12, 2018

The 12th Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival returns to Fiesta Gardens Saturday, June 23 for a bigger than ever year; tickets are now on sale for both the daytime event and After Dark party featuring Lee Fields & The Expressions and more!

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(AUSTIN, TEXAS - June 12, 2018; source: Juice Consulting) - The 12th Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival has announced the celebrity judges for the "Best of ATX Frozen Treats" contest that will take place during the daytime portion of the festival on Saturday, June 23 at Fiesta Gardens along Lady Bird Lake. The judges include Chet Gardner (Host of The Daytripper on PBS), Dawn Weston(Associate Editor of Edible Austin), Simon Madera (Owner of Taco Flats and La Holly), Suzanna Choffel (local musician and former contestant on The Voice), W. A. Brenner (food writer for The Austin Chronicle), Rachel Holtin (@Austinfoodstagram) and two surprise judges from Austin Food Adventures. Shayda Torabi (www.withshayda.com) will emcee the event.

The Austin Ice Cream Festival also unveiled the full list of frozen treat samplers participating in this year's event: Amy's Ice Creams, Bahama Freeze, The Baked Bear, Casey's New Orleans Snowballs, F'Real Milkshakes & Smoothies, Gati, GoodPop, H-E-B Creamy Creations, Ice Scrapers, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Moojo, Odd Pop, Over The Moon Vegan, Shaved Ice Island, SnoMo, Swoon by H-E-B, Téo Gelato and Waka Waka.

The festival has also announced the final line up of 2018 sponsors and partners including title sponsor H-E-B as well as Pecos Pete's Natural Tea & Soda, Yeti, West Elm, Sysco, Roger Beasley Mazda, LeafFilter, Topgolf, HelloFresh, In-N-Out Burger, Soozy's, Austin Gourmet Popcorn, We Are Blood, Camp Gladiator, FUZE tea, Bath Fitter, One Main Financial, GAMA, State Farm, Blue Chair Bay Rum, Dulce Vida Tequila, American Born Whiskey and Circle Brewing. Media sponsors for this year include The Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, CultureMap, Do512, Do512Family, KUT and KUTX.

This year, the Austin Ice Cream Festival will feature two uniquely Austin events - a daytime, family-friendly festival with mounds of ice cream and frozen treats from local favorites and national brands, contests, fun activities, live entertainment by The Wild Now and Mélat, local food trucks and more. As the sun sets, Fiesta Gardens will transform to After Dark at Austin's Ice Cream Festival, a trendy party with headlining live music from Lee Fields & the Expressions, Tameca Jones and DJ Mel, frozen treat vendors, boozy frosty drinks and Austin's favorite food trucks.

Contests and the "Best of ATX" Frozen Treats

The Austin Ice Cream Festival will crown the 2018 "Best Frozen Treat of Austin" among frozen treat companies participating in the event. Participating companies will submit a flavor into the contest to be judged by a panel of celebrity judges at the Austin Ice Cream Festival. Festival goers will put their taste buds to the test as they sample from each of the festival frozen treat vendors, then vote on their "Fan Favorite." Winners of the "Fan Favorite" and "Celebrity Judged Category" will be named the "Best of ATX Frozen Treat" and receive a commemorative Austin Ice Cream Festival spoon trophy and eternal bragging rights.

Attendees will fight off inevitable brain freeze with a series of ice cream eating contests. There will be multiple divisions - the Half Gallon Challenge, Full Pint, Half-Pint for the kids and more. Information on these contests can be found in the coming weeks online at www.austinicecreamfestival.com.

Daytime attendees won't be the only ones taking part in friendly competitions. After Dark attendees (over 21) will vote on their favorite boozy frosty beverage in the Milkshake Throwdown contest. Local bartenders will go head-to-head to create the tastiest frozen treat inspired cocktails from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. After Dark will also feature its own ice cream eating contest for guests to enjoy.

Ticket Information

Tickets for both the Daytime event and After Dark at Austin's Ice Cream Festival are now on sale. General Admission tickets and early-entry ZIP tickets for both events can be purchased at www.austinicecreamfestival.com. Daytime General Admission tickets are $15 and early-entry ZIP tickets available for $25. After Dark General Admission tickets are $35 and ZIP tickets available for $50. Double Scoop options provide access to both events starting at $45.

"What better way to celebrate summer than by enjoying some of the best ice cream in Texas," said Leslie Sweet, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs. "H-E-B is proud to join thousands of ice cream lovers as they come together at one of Austin's most popular festivals to sample more than 1.5 tons of frozen treats."

For a schedule of events, see below:

Family-friendly Daytime Event, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The daytime event will feature free frozen treat sampling, ice cream eating contests throughout the day, and fun summer activities for all ages - including rock wall climbing, inflatables, dunk tank, yard games, water gun fights, live music entertainment and more! General Admission during the day runs 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. General Admission passes for the daytime event are $15 and include sampling passbooks providing tastes from Austin's favorite local and national frozen treat brands. Early-entry ZIP tickets are $25 and provide all GA benefits PLUS one hour early event entry at 9 a.m., access to the air-conditioned ZIP Fast Freeze Lounge with VIP amenities including dedicated seating and premium bathrooms. Additional full-sized frozen treats and savory eats will be available for purchase. Children 6 and under receive free admission.

After Dark - Party in the Park, 6 - 10 p.m.

Starting at 6 p.m. at Fiesta Gardens, After Dark at Austin's Ice Cream Festivalwill feature headlining musicians, frozen treat samples, frosty cocktails, contests, activities and Austin's famous food trucks. After Dark General Admission passes are $35 and include access to a headlining music lineup at the pavilion, a free taste from each of the festival's frozen treat vendors, access to unique boozy frozen treat-inspired concoctions you won't find anywhere else and food trucks. After Dark ZIP passes are $50 and include all GA benefits plus 30-minute early-event entry at 5:30 p.m., access to the air-conditioned ZIP Fast Freeze Lounge with VIP amenities including dedicated seating, a private bar and premium bathrooms.

ABOUT THE AUSTIN ICE CREAM FESTIVAL:

In 2007, our love of ice cream led us to create the very first Austin Ice Cream Festival. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy cold ice cream and a celebration for the Austin community - and so the Austin Ice Cream Festival was born. Every year the Austin Ice Cream Festival draws thousands of Austin families and friends to Fiesta Gardens to eat delicious food, play games, participate in contests, listen to live music, interact with performers and did we mention? ... EAT TONS of ICE CREAM!!

Accolades and Fun Facts:

  • More than 1.5 tons of frozen treat samples were distributed at the 2017 Austin Ice Cream Festival
  • SnoMo won both the 2017 Fan Favorite and Celebrity-Judged "Best of ATX Frozen Treat" contests
  • 2017: Featured in: "Best Festivals in Texas" by Travelmag.com and "20 Ways to Have the Best Summer Ever" by Jetsetter Magazine
  • 2016: Featured as a "Top Festival in the Country" by The Today Show
  • 2013: Named one of the "Top 10 Summer Festivals" by Fodor's Travel Guide
  • In 2010, Joey Chestnut, the World's Eating Champion, won the ice cream eating contest by eating 1.25 gallons of ice cream in five minutes!

For more information on the 2018 festival, please see: www.austinicecreamfestival.com.