On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-A
On July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong was the first human to take a “giant leap” for mankind
On July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Presidential Proclamation 5219 establishing National Ice Cream Day
And it all came together last week as tourists flocked to the Space Coast to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.
We both still vividly remember watching the Saturn V launch; watching the Lunar Lander, Eagle, as it landed at Tranquility Base; seeing Neil Armstrong step down to the moon surface; and viewing the recovery as the USS Hornet plucked astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin from the landing site of the capsule, Columbia, in the North Pacific Ocean! We were glued to the TV! What an amazing feat!
So, of course, we flocked to Cocoa Beach, too!! Let me tell you all about it:
But wait, there’s more! Sunday, July 21st is National Ice Cream Day. This celebration, sponsored by Senator Walter Dee Huddleston of Kentucky, originated in the United States Senate with Joint Resolution 298 on May 17, 1984; on April 11, 1984, Representative Kika de la Garza of Texas sponsored Joint Resolution 543 in the House of Representatives. It was signed into public law by President Ronald Reagan on July 9th. Interestingly, all this only mentioned a single occurrence in 1984! But leave it to the dairy and ice cream industries to promote the day! For 35 years, we have celebrated the day with tasty concoctions!
It is believed ice cream started in China. Returning from his explorations in the Far East, Marco Polo is said to have introduced the taste sensation to Italy. Ice Cream made its way to America in 1744. By the 1930s, due to the Industrial Revolution and the advances made with steam power, refrigeration and trucking, ice cream made it to grocery shelves all over America!
We chose to sample the frozen creations of Fat Donkey Ice Cream & Fine Desserts at 247 Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach. But first, we stopped for lunch at the Tiny Turtle right next door (249 Minutemen Causeway). We were attracted to the quirky names of these two establishments and after a little research, discovered the history of the Wayne Coombs’ Mai Tiki Gallery complex where they are located.
Wayne Coombs created colorful paintings with a distinctive style; but he was best known for the Tikis he began carving in 1967. He was a popular Space Coast artist. He became a legend in Cocoa Beach. His Tikis shipped world-wide! And they may be spotted all over Cocoa Beach. Go back and look at the Ron Jon photo above. You’ll spot Tikis!!! Wayne Coombs passed away on September 4, 2012.
Today, you will find Coombs’ Mai Tiki Studio complex still attracts customers. The Tiny Turtle serves a Caribbean Fusion Cuisine. The owners, Chef Moises and his wife Kelly, call it “Sofrito”, the essence of Puerto Rican Cuisine. At the Fat Donkey Ice Cream & Fine Desserts they handcraft ice cream in unique flavors and quirky presentations. The Zonkey is sorbet layered with soft -serve ice cream. The Jack Smasher is a waffle cone layered with soft-serve, strawberries, a slice of Key Lime pie or Cheesecake, more soft-serve, more strawberries and topped with cool whip. And even more enticing are the Baked Dessert Jars! Here are the photos:
For a couple of septuagenarians, this was a fun trip down memory lane.