There's an old joke that goes "the person who invented the wheel was smart. The person who invented the other three was a genius." I think the same can be said for soda. Whoever invented carbonated drinks was pretty smart, but whoever was the one who put ice cream on them was an out-and-out genius.

Temperatures have been hitting into the 90's with all-too-much regularity this summer, and there aren't too many better things to quench your thirst in the heat than an ice cream float. And in Kalamazoo, there are at least two choices to do just that.

The Root Beer Stand...mmmmmm.

Longtime favorite The Root Beer Stand will make you a thirst-quenching rootbeer float for a couple of bucks and even bring it to your car and set it up on your window.

Downtown gives you countless choices.

But there's a stunning new development. Two downtown Kalamazoo favorites have joined forces (for good, and not evil; just like in the Marvel universe) and come up with the Summer of Floats. Rocket Fizz has some 500 types of sodas. Spirit of Kalamazoo has some 24 ice creams, and from Plainwell Ice Cream. Without stating the obvious, do the math, people. The possibilities are almost endless.

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How it works: When you're downtown on the Mall, you go over to Rocket Fizz and pick out your soda and then you walk over to Spirit of Kalamazoo and they'll make it for you, but for July and August, the two stores are doing a social media contest, too.

Ice cream float history.

The ice cream float was invented by Robert McCay Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874 during the Franklin Institute's semicentennial celebration. The traditional story is that, on a particularly hot day, Green ran out of ice for the flavored drinks he was selling and used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor, inventing a new drink. His own account, published in Soda Fountain magazine in 1910, states that while operating a soda fountain at the celebration, he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from another vendor who had a larger, fancier soda fountain. After some experimentation, he decided to combine ice cream and flavored soda. - Wikipedia

For what it's worth, for this long-time float fan, just give me some plain unsweetened soda water, add some crushed pineapple, and then the vanilla ice cream. It doesn't get much better than that.

Oh, and one last thing. In Australia and New Zealand, ice cream floats are called "spiders".

Kalamazoo Woman's Maternity Shoot At The Root Beer Stand

The shoot started out as a joke kinda like "wouldn't it be funny if we did a maternity session here at The Root Beer Stand?" Then the more I thought about it I was like okay we are going to make this happen. 

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