LE MARS, IOWA | For four days, the Ice Cream Capital of the World will celebrate the frozen treat responsible for its nickname.

Tens of thousands of people will be in Le Mars -- the hometown of Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream -- for the city's 28th annual Ice Cream Days at various locations Wednesday through Sunday.

From parades to bike races, to an ice cream flavor creation contest, visitors will have plenty to see and do, said Brad Pick, one of the event's volunteer coordinators.

"Ice Cream Days is the one time of the year when the community gets to celebrate itself," said Pick marketing manager for Primebank. "It allows us to showcase what's great about our city."

In addition to such Ice Cream Days mainstays as cars shows, ice cream socials and carnival midway rides, Pick is most excited about newer events like the "Summer Slam" kindergarten through 12th-grade wrestling tournament, "Red, White and Blue" Mud Run, and the "Grill 'n' Chill" Rib Cook-Off.

"The great thing about Ice Cream Days is that we literally have something for the entire family to enjoy," Pick said.

The annual event draws people from many people from out of town, which is good for the town's economic development.

That's particularly important to Neal Adler, executive director of Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce, who noted that many former residents use Ice Cream Days as a jumping-off point for high school or family reunions.

"People who have been away from Le Mars are always pleasantly surprised to see how good the town looks," said Adler, a longtime Le Mars resident.

And that's why Plymouth County will be extending plenty of Midwestern hospitality.

"Ice Cream Days represent a time where you can take a breath and enjoy yourself in the summertime," Adler said.

Included in the four-day event are three-on-three basketball tournaments, BMX bike shows and a Scream for Fashion clothing show.

Plus, there will be plenty of ice cream, naturally.

"I love vanilla bean ice cream," Adler said. "Not plain vanilla, but vanilla bean is my all-time favorite."

Pick, on the other hand, can't commit to just one ice cream flavor.

"I like them all," he said. "In fact, I haven't found one flavor that I don't like." 

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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