SYLACAUGA -- It’s time for National Ice Cream Month across America, especially in the Marble City, where some of the greatest ice cream is made every day.

To celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month, Blue Bell Creameries is offering a free scoop of one of your favorite flavors Friday, July 27, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Your scoop will be available in the Blue Bell Creameries Ice Cream Parlor at 423 N. Norton Ave.

Mindy Grier, administrative manager for Blue Bell in Sylacauga, said the parlor features 24 flavors of ice cream. “We expect to serve more than 1,200 scoops on July 27. We expect a lot of visitors,” she said.

The Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and Country Store attract between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors annually.

Grier said in addition to employees from the ice cream parlor and country store, manufacturing employees will lend a hand scooping ice cream.

“Scooping 1,200 ice cream scoops can be tiring,” she said.

According to an International Dairy Food Association (IDFA) survey, most ice cream companies are family owned and have been in operation for more than 50 years.

According to the IDFA website, ice cream companies help support the U.S. economy, contributing more than $39 billion to the national economy and creating more than 188,000 jobs in communities across the country.

Blue Bell was started in 1907, when a few farmers in Brenham, Texas, got together to set up the Brenham Creamery so they could sell some extra milk and butter to make some income.

The initial investment was $2,200. In 1911, the creamery began making and selling 2 gallons of ice cream a day.  It was made in a hand-cranked wooden freezer.

In 1919, E.F. Kruse, the son of a successful farmer and one seven children, decided not to be a school superintendent and instead took the struggling creamery and worked for awhile without a salary. Soon, the company showed a profit.

Kruse changed the name of the Brenham Creamery to Blue Bell Creameries, after his favorite wildflower, the blue bell.

Generations later, the Kruses still manage Blue Bell Creameries.

Blue Bell Creameries has been a big part of the Sylacauga community since 1996. The company purchased the old Flav-O-Rich production facility, and after renovations, production started in 1997.

Today, the plant is undergoing a more than $7 million expansion and renovation. Brasfield & Gorrie is constructing a 56,900 square foot project consisting of a renovation to the existing ice cream production area and an expansion of the dry goods storage.

The plant produces the largest volume of ice cream of any manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Sylacauga’s plant employs more than 240 people. It produces half gallons, 3-ounce cups and 3-gallon containers of the company’s main flavors, including sherbert, light and no-sugar-added varieties.

Grier also reminded everyone the Farmers Market will be going on across the street in Central Park on July 27 from 7 a.m. to noon. Blue Bell is helping conduct the market for the public.

July was designated as National Ice Cream Month in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. In the proclamation, Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."