Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Super-sundae: 600-foot banana split

banana split fan1Video: “This is the best ice-cream-eating thing ever.”
(Here’s one of the many great events organized by WSU’s Conference Management unit.)

By Katie Roenigk/(Moscow-Pullman) Daily News
     On Monday afternoon, about 400 teenagers and 100 adults lined up in front of the Washington State University Compton Union Building to help devour a 600-foot banana split ice cream sundae that spanned the length of two football fields along the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.
     The challenge was part of this year's Summer Teen Conference through the WSU Extension. The conference takes place annually, but planning team member Pam Watson said she's never seen such a large snack for a group of hungry teens. She has seen a giant banana split before, however.
     "Our State (4H) Ambassadors, which is a group of about 16 kids, have been doing this off and on at their meetings," Watson said. "So we wanted to try it here."
    It took a little more effort to make the dish for hundreds of eaters, however. Jon Gabelein, advisor for the State 4H Ambassadors, said area businesses donated eight pounds of bananas, 15 jugs of strawberry sauce, 17 jugs of chocolate sauce and 66 tubs of ice cream for the event. Volunteers prepared a 600-foot-long bowl for the super-sundae using home gutter material from Pullman Ace Hardware. Duct tape kept the 10-foot sections of plastic-lined gutter strapped together, and dozens of garbage cans placed underneath the creation ensured it would stay in place despite the wind.
     "This is for sure king-sized," Gabelein said. "It took a lot of logistics. But I told them I could make it happen with their help."
     He had enlisted a team of servers, with one group of people responsible for dishing out the ice cream in individual containers while another crew followed behind with syrup and whipped cream.
     "It'll be kind of like a relay," Gabelein said.
     As students started showing up at the mall for their treat, volunteers quickly made the finishing touches to the masterpiece so it would be ready for the crowd.
     "There's going to be about 400 kids going crazy in the next 10 minutes," Chaperon Annie Grayson of Wenatchee said. "I'm terrified. But it'll be good. I'm excited to see it."
     The kids were excited as well, including a group for Kittitas County, who said the idea was "awesome."
     Teen Travis Gylling was impressed at the new use for a storm gutter, and Rachel Jeffires and Julia Wickerath thanked volunteers for setting it up.
     "It's so long," Wickerath said, awed by the seemingly never-ending line of ice cream in front of her.
     "I love it, "Madi Pernaa said. "I want to try it at home."
     Once everyone had arrived, organizers asked the eaters to wait before digging into their slowly melting sundaes so members of the Pullman Fire Department could get a picture of the entire dish using one of their platform ladders. When the task was complete, the firefighters rang one of their sirens to indicate that the feast could begin.
     The students will leave campus today, having spent the weekend learning about career and college readiness, team building and disaster preparation. The conference, which began in 1927, is open to all youth entering grades 8 through 12.

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