Today is National Grape Popsicle Day. In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson was sitting on his porch, stirring powdered drink mix into water, when he was called inside and forgot to bring the cup with him.
His hometown of San Francisco, CA, was hit with record low temperatures that night. When Epperson ventured outside the next morning, he discovered that the drink had frozen to the stick, creating a tasty ice pop.
In 1923, Epperson began to sell the treat he called “a frozen drink on a stick” at Neptune Beach Amusement Park in Alameda, CA. Children loved them and parents were happy that the stick helped prevent messes and gooey hands.
In 1924, Epperson applied for and was granted a patent for the frozen confectionery, which he called the “Epsicle.” His children called it “Pop’s sicle, ” which inspired him to change the name to “Popsicle.”
Not long afterward, Epperson sold the patent to pay debts and regretfully missed out on the financial success of his creation. “I was flat and had to liquidate all my assets,” he later said. “I haven’t been the same since.”
We’re not sure why this holiday occurs on May 27th, a date that doesn’t correspond to Epperson’s birthday or the day the patent was filed or granted. Nor can we explain today is devoted to the grape variety alone. (Of more than two billion Popsicles sold each year, cherry is the most popular flavor.) We did uncover an interesting fact:
Do you remember the Popsicle with two sticks? It was introduced during the Great Depression so two children could split it for 5¢, the same price as a single stick. It was discontinued in 1987 because parents complained it was hard to break and too messy for one child to eat without dripping.
All this time, we’ve been thinking it was just out of stock….