The Banana Split

Here’s a post you’re sure to go “bananas” over! One of America’s favorite treats, the banana split, was created in Wilmington, Ohio. The story begins on a cold winter day in 1907. Ernest Hazard, owner of Hazard’s Restaurant, staged an employee contest to create a unique dessert in hopes of drumming up interest from students at the nearby Wilmington College during the slow winter months. Whether the competition was rigged or not, the winner was Ernest himself. He took a long dessert dish, arranged a banana split in half, put three ice cream scoops in the middle, a little chocolate syrup, strawberry jam, and topped with mix nuts, whipped cream, and a couple of cherries. With the help of his cousin, Clifton, they named the dessert, the “banana split”.

While many Ohioans believe that Wilmington is the birthplace of the banana split, others are “split” on the issue. Many believe that Latrobe in neighboring Pennsylvania is home to the creation of the dessert. To celebrate the history of the banana split and increase exposure for their story, each June, residents of Wilmington host the Banana Split Festival. The festival began in 1995 and attracts tens of thousands of people to the area each year. The festival features live music, a petting zoo, a baseball tournament, and a banana split eating competition. However, the featured attraction is a “make your own banana split” booth where you can make your own banana split with as many ice cream scoops and toppings as you want. And, there’s no need to feel guilty about eating it either, because with the bananas, nuts, and cherries, it can be considered a healthy treat, right?


Photo of Hazards Restaurant in early 1900's

Photo of Hazards Restaurant in Early 1900′s

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