The 5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day

This morning I went down a deep, dark and decadent rabbit hole: I scrolled through pictures from Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day, a 30-year-long tradition where the company gives away a limitless amount of ice cream. Seriously, once you get a free one you can go back for more like it’s your job. And Free Cone Day is happening right now. 

But you already knew that. Because you have a pulse and an Instagram account and you too have seen the (roughly) five zillion photos of free cone-goers holding up their coffee caramel fudge ice cream resting in all its dripping, sugary glory atop a classic waffle cone. (I don’t exaggerate on this number. Last year, more than 1 million free cones were handed out to hungry customers and the latest scoop—he he— says estimates for 2016 are just as high.) 

After a little appetite-inducing research, here are five things about Free Cone Day I bet you didn’t know: 

Image via BenJerry.com

Image via BenJerry.com

1. There’s compassion in the chocolate. If you choose Chocolate Fudge Brownie or Half Baked ice cream, congratulations you’ve just done a sweet deed. For both flavors, Ben & Jerry’s sources the brownie bits from Greyston Bakery, a socially conscious spot in Yonkers, NY that provides jobs and training to poverty-stricken residents looking to get back on their feet.

2. The cows are over the moon about Free Cone Day, too. Ben and Jerry’s works with more than 300 cooperative farmers in the U.S. and Europe who are intent on raising happy cows through responsible, energy-efficient farming practices. There’s another joke to be made here about cows coming home but I just can’t figure it out.
Image via BenJerry.com

Image via BenJerry.com

3. It’s a cheesy celebration. This year, Free Cone Day falls on the same day as National Grilled Cheese Day. (At publication time, the Internet had not yet exploded from overabundance of newly uploaded food photos.) Do I smell a cheddar-and-toasted-bread ice cream?  Uh, hopefully not.

4. Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are super cool. Observe: The first Free Cone Day happened in 1979 at a Ben & Jerry’s built inside a refurbished gas station in Burlington, VT. Nothing says cool like ice cream served from a retro New England garage, am I right? 

5. Our awesomeness is undeniable. “We think our fans are awesome so we want to thank you with FREE ice cream all around the world!” Ben & Jerry’s said on Facebook. So, the most important thing to remember today is that we are all so incredibly, ridiculously awesome that we deserve ice cream for free.

[MELISSA MARNI is a Southern California-based writer and the founder of little word studio. You can follow her musings on Instagram here.]