An ice cream van (British) or ice cream truck (American) is a commercial vehicle which serves as a travelling retail outlet for ice cream, usually during the summer. Ice cream vans are often seen parked at public events, or near parks, beaches, or other areas where people congregate. Ice cream vans often travel near where children play — outside schools, in residential areas, or in other locations. They usually stop briefly before moving on to the next street.
Ice cream vans are often brightly decorated and carry images of ice cream, or some other adornment, such as cartoon characters. They may have painted-on notices, which can serve a commercial purpose ("Stop me and buy one!") or a more serious one ("Don't Skid on a Kid!") - serving as a warning to passing motorists that children may run out into the road at the sight of the van, or appear without warning from behind it. Along the sides, a large sliding window acts as a serving hatch, and this is often covered with small pictures of the available products, with their associated prices. A distinctive feature of ice cream vans is their melodic chimes, and often these take the form of a famous and recognizable tune, usually "The Mister Softee Jingle", "Turkey in the Straw", "Do Your Ears Hang Low?, "Pop Goes The Weasel" "The Entertainer", "Music Box Dancer", "Home on the Range", "It's a Small World", "Super Mario Bros. Theme" or "Camptown Races"; or, in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, "Greensleeves", "Whistle While You Work" in Crewe and Nantwich, "You Are My Sunshine" in Vale Royal, and "Match of the Day" in other places. In some places in the US, ice cream trucks play the song "Ice Cream" by Andre Nickatina (essentially just Turkey in the Straw with bass).
Most ice cream vans tend to sell both pre-manufactured ice lollies (American English: popsicles) in wrappers, and soft serve ice cream from a machine, served in a cone, and often with a chocolate flake (in Britain) or a sugary syrup flavoured with, for example, strawberry. Soft serve ice cream is served topped with sprinkles for a slight extra charge. While franchises or chains are rare within the ice cream truck community (most trucks are independently owned/run), there are a few chains.
In some locations, ice cream van operators have diversified to fill gaps in the market for soft drinks, using their capacity for refrigerated storage to sell chilled cans and bottles.
Early ice cream vans carried simple ice cream, during a time when most families did not own a freezer. As freezers became more commonplace, ice cream vans moved towards selling novelty ice cream items, such as bars and popsicles. Early vans used relatively primitive techniques: their refrigeration was ensured by large blocks of dry ice so the motor was always turned off when the van was stopped for sales. The chimes were operated by a hand driven crank or a take-off from the motor, so they were not heard as often.
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Famous quotes containing the words ice cream, van, ice and/or cream:
“People in Stamps used to say that the whites in our town were so prejudiced that a Negro couldnt buy vanilla ice cream. Except on July Fourth. Other days he had to be satisfied with chocolate.”
—Maya Angelou (b. 1928)
“I cant work without a model. I wont say I turn my back on nature ruthlessly in order to turn a study into a picture, arranging the colors, enlarging and simplifying; but in the matter of form I am too afraid of departing from the possible and the true.”
—Vincent Van Gogh (18531890)
“...there was the annual Fourth of July picketing at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. ...I thought it was ridiculous to have to go there in a skirt. But I did it anyway because it was something that might possibly have an effect. I remember walking around in my little white blouse and skirt and tourists standing there eating their ice cream cones and watching us like the zoo had opened.”
—Martha Shelley, U.S. author and social activist. As quoted in Making History, part 3, by Eric Marcus (1992)
“After a few months acquaintance with European coffee, ones mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)