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Dessert holiday: Wednesday was National Root Beer Float Day

Melanie Sanford, assistant manager at Roberts Drive In in Genoa, prepares a twist ice cream cone Wednesday, which was National Root Beer Float Day. Although Sanford said she personally enjoys other ice cream treats over the soda-vanilla concoction, she said her customers routinely order root beer floats. No one ordered a root beer float at Roberts Drive In on Wednesday during two visits by the Daily Chronicle to the restaurant. KATE WEBER CARLSON |

Joel LeFevers doesn't consider himself a root beer float connoisseur, but he has tasted the summer treat beyond the borders of the United States. “I had one in the Bahamas, and it was really good,” said LeFevers, an employee of Stockton Construction Group, who was on lunch break Wednesday at Roberts Drive In in Genoa. “They taste pretty much the same as ones here, though.” The recipe for root beer floats remains tried and true, and people across the country were happy to celebrate the summer staple Wednesday, which was National Root Beer Float Day. Sharron Ermilio, assistant manager at Roberts Drive In, said root beer floats are a popular order, no matter the season. “People usually order them in the evening more than during the daytime, but people often assume ice cream is only a summertime thing when we are open year-round and sell root beer floats even in the winter,” she said. Customers often wait to indulge in root beer floats until after dinner since the weight of the soda and ice cream combination is often too heavy to accompany the meal itself, Ermilio said. Many customers also refer to root beer floats by their old-fashioned name, “black cows.” “We'll have people come through and ask for a black cow, and some of my younger girls will look at me and ask, ‘What's that?'” Ermilio said. “I have to explain to them that it's the same thing.” Beth Thompson, 71, of Genoa pulled up to Roberts Drive In with her grandson John, 14, Wednesday to pick up a quick lunch. Thompson remembers being fond of the summer drink. “I haven't had one for ages,” she said. “We have ice cream sundaes and we drink root beer, but I haven't had them together in a long time and I don't know why.” John Thompson was proud to admit he's had several root beer floats at Roberts Drive In already this summer. “I really like them,” he said. “How can you not?” added Beth Thompson. “You get pop and ice cream at the same time.”

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