Ice cream socials planned for Missouri bicentennial

Debby Woodin |
Aug 6, 2021

It’s summer and Missouri is having a big birthday. What better way to celebrate than with ice cream? After all, the ice cream cone is designated as Missouri’s official dessert.

Ice cream socials are planned Tuesday in Joplin, Webb City and Carthage as well as other communities around the state to mark the 200th anniversary of Missouri statehood. Missouri became the 24th state in the union on Aug. 10, 1821.

Communities statewide have been asked by state officials to commemorate the day with ice cream socials, according to the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Joplin Centennial Commission. In 2008, Senate Bill No. 911 was passed by the 94th Missouri General Assembly designating the ice cream cone as the official dessert of the state.

That’s because the ice cream cone was first made available for widespread consumption in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis through serendipity.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, an Italian immigrant, Italo Marchiony, invented a cone in the late 1800s in New York. He obtained a patient in 1902.

In 1904, a concessionaire at the World’s Fair, Ernest A. Hamwi, sold a waffle-like Middle Eastern fritter called zalabis. In a booth next to Hamwi, another vendor sold ice cream. When that concessionaire ran out of bowls. Hamwi rolled his waffle into the shape of a cone, or a cornucopia as it was called then, and provided it to the ice cream vendor. It was a hit and soon baking equipment was being made at St. Louis foundries to manufacture the World’s Fair cornucopia.

Stephen Sullivan, of the town of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first known independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cornucopias to those who attended a log rolling competition held by the Modern Woodmen of America in Sullivan to spread the cone’s popularity.

Hamwi also went into business to supply the cones through his Cornucopia Waffle Company and later the Missouri Cone Company, later known as the Western Cone Co.


Four events are planned in Joplin for Tuesday’s celebration.

Residents can get their first bowl of celebratory ice cream during a midday social from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Spiva Park, Fourth and Main streets.

There will be a little fun for kids and adults in addition to eating the frozen confection. Bean bag and giant Jenga games, chalk and bubbles will be available.

Neighborhood events will include ice cream socials from 5 to 6 p.m. in Murphysburg and in North Heights from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Murphysburg event will be held at the historic Gustave Kleinkauf House, 523 S. Sergeant Ave. Ice cream that can be topped with chocolate, caramel, strawberry and sprinkles will be available along with activities including lawn bowling, a scavenger hunt tour and chalk art.

The North Heights social will be held at the Neighborhood Lifehouse, 516 N. Wall Ave. Similar toppings will be served there along with cornhole games, music, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

A patio ice cream social starts at 6 p.m. at Bookhouse Cinema Patio & Theater, 715 E. Langston Hughes-Broadway, where toppings and a nondairy ice cream alternative will be available.

The “World’s Great Fair,” a documentary of the 1904 World’s Fair, will be shown from 7 to 9 p.m.


A Webb City morning social will mix historic Route 66 with a helping of ice cream. The event will be held at 10 a.m. until the ice cream is gone at the Route 66 Welcome Center, 21 S. Webb Ave. There will be a variety of toppings available and drive-thru service is offered.

A selection of treats will be served at a Carthage ice cream social. It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in Central Park, 714 S. Garrison Ave. Live music will be presented for those who attend the celebration.