Kind of Blue

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There’s an anthropological axiom that humans do not like blue food; the color is taboo. Certainly, it’s the hue least rep- resented at the buffet. George Carlin even did a routine about this, asking “Where the hell is the blue food?” Kings Island has it. Their blue ice cream, a blueberry-based soft serve, has become a central part of the amusement park experience. It’s been raved about on BuzzFeed and has spawned a number of urban myths. We salute a hometown hit that makes you stick out your tongue and look in the mirror.

Uh, why? In 1982 park muckamucks were looking for a food tie-in to the new Smurfs Enchanted Voyage ride. It was either that or blue pizza. Now the ride is called the Phantom Theater, but the ice cream is still blue. It’s never been tied in with Huckleberry Hound or Blue’s Clues, contrary to accounts on the Internet.

Who’da thunk it? Kings Island doesn’t name a single mad scientist as the originator, other than the hardly euphonious “Food Division managers.”

Is it true that a kid once asked a Kings Island employee what made it blue. When the employee said “ground-up Smurfs,” the child burst into tears and the employee lost his job? Probably not. Everybody knows it’s made of old members of the Blue Man Group.

Sprinkles. Aye or nay? When the ice cream debuted, only about 800 to 1,000 pounds of sprinkles topped the blue goo in a season. Today that number is up to 2,500, out of 42,000 total pounds of jimmies dropped on top of all soft serve flavors at the park.

Is it true that the ice cream tastes different depending on where in the park you buy it? Not according to park spokesman Don Helbig, though a change in the atmospheric temperature can alter the flavor.

What color is that? North Carolina Blue, they call it, as in Tarheels.

Didn’t they stop serving for a while? Yup, after Paramount bought the park in 1993 and closed down the Smurfs ride. But they got tired of hearing the same complaint every day, and by July of that year it returned and has been available ever since.

 

Originally published in the June 2013 issue.

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