More than a century later, the City of Latrobe, Saint Vincent College and Dole Fresh Fruit are teaming up to host the Great American Banana Split Celebration. Dole is a title sponsor of the event and will be supporting by providing thousands of DOLE Bananas and recipes for banana-themed salads, entrees, cocktails and traditional and healthier banana splits made with Greek yogurt, sorbet, honey, pomegranates and fresh berries.
“DOLE is America’s favorite banana – so it makes perfect sense for us to honor America’s favorite dessert and the now-official city where it was created,” says Bil Goldfield, Dole’s director of corporate communications. “Of course, this being Dole, one of our goals is to introduce healthier versions of the famously decadent sundae with less calories and fat. We’re out to show that it is possible to eat smart and still enjoy your banana split, too.”
The celebration, August 23-25 in Latrobe, features three days of ceremonies, tastings, run/walks, parties and dances commemorating the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania designation of Latrobe as the official banana split birthplace and culminating in the world’s largest banana split bar at Saint Vincent College on National Banana Split Day, Aug. 25.
“While Latrobe has always been considered the home of the banana split, this state designation makes it official,” says Latrobe Mayor Barbara Griffin. “We see this as the definitive small-town homecoming event for anyone who loves bananas and banana splits. Since almost all American families buy and eat bananas, we expect a lot of out-of-area visitors that weekend.”
Highlights of the weekend include the DOLE Banana Yellow-Tie Gala, featuring Dole Banana Daiquiris and a banana-themed multimedia art show at the Quatrini-Rafferty Building and the Latrobe Art Center, a “Dole Family Stroll” fun walk/run followed by a car rally, banana-themed street fair and 1950’s malt shop sock hop.
On the last day, participants will create personalized desserts at the world’s largest do-it-yourself banana split bar in Saint Vincent’s Robert S. Carey Student Center. The giant dessert social, which features both traditional and healthier banana split options, coincides with the return of the college’s sophomore, junior and senior students for the fall semester.
“Saint Vincent College students have always been proud that they were the first in the world to eat banana splits,” says Brother Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president of the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts and sciences college. “Banana split bars are one of Saint Vincent’s sweetest campus traditions. It brings a smile to the faces of students, parents and other visitors. Our students are serious about their studies – and their banana splits.”