Dole Dishes Out Healthier Options at Great American Banana Split Celebration


Last year, the world watched as Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was officially recognized as the birthplace of the banana split with the unveiling of a historical marker from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This spirited, appealing ceremony, held at the location where the banana split was first created in 1904, kicked off a weekend-long celebration of the classic American dessert christened the Great American Banana Split Celebration.

Because Dole Fresh Fruit wants to be where banana lovers are, they have teamed up once again with The City of Latrobe and Saint Vincent College to continue this sweet tradition, honoring the iconic, triple-scoop treat–as well as the city where it all began–by hosting a two-day celebration of both the classic banana split and new, healthier versions developed by Dole.

The Second Annual Great American Banana Split CelebrationAugust 22-23, 2014, in Latrobe, features two days of ceremonies, tastings, events, parties, and dances commemorating Latrobe as the official birthplace of the banana split, which was first created in 1904 by David Strickler of Latrobe’s Tassel Pharmacy and served up to local students of nearby Saint Vincent College.

“It was our honor last year to receive official recognition for Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split,” explained Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford. “But even more, it was an opportunity for the world to celebrate a part of Latrobe’s rich history with a weekend-long event dedicated to America’s favorite dessert. This year, we look to continue this tradition of the definitive small-town homecoming event for banana and banana split lovers worldwide.”

Dole Fresh Fruit, based in Westlake Village, California, returns as a title sponsor of the event and will provide thousands of Dole bananas and recipes for banana-themed snacks, entrees, drinks, and, of course, banana splits. Continuing in its tradition of offering “guilt-free” versions of classic desserts, Dole will use its involvement to offer recipes for healthier banana split varieties featuring bananas topped with Greek yogurt, sorbet, honey, pomegranate seeds, berries, sliced pineapples, and other fresh fruit.

“Last year we celebrated Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split but also introduced healthier ways to enjoy this iconic dessert as part of Dole’s commitment to health and nutrition,” said Bil Goldfield, Dole’s director of corporate communications. “As America’s number one banana provider, Dole will help host the 2014 event to reinforce this message that there are healthy-but-fun—and just as delicious—alternatives to the ‘traditional’ banana split.”

The Latrobe Art CenterLatrobe Community Revitalization ProgramLatrobe Rotary ClubValley Dairy RestaurantsLatrobe Business and Professional Women's ClubLatrobe Lions ClubWestmoreland Hope in Action, and other local nonprofit and for-profit organizations are helping to organize the second annual event.

A prominent part in both the history of the banana split and the 2013 celebration event, Saint Vincent College students will return for the 2014 celebration as part of the school’s freshman orientation week. Saint Vincent College hosted the world’s largest banana gathering and flash mob in 2013 on the college’s Chuck Noll Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, followed by the world’s largest banana split bar.

“Saint Vincent College students have always been proud that they were the first in the world to eat banana splits,” said Brother Norman W. Hipps, OSB, president of the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts, and sciences college. “Banana splits are one of Saint Vincent’s sweetest campus traditions. It brings a smile to the faces of students, parents, and other visitors. Our students are serious about their studies–and their banana splits.”

To encourage visitors from around the country, Latrobe-area hotels, restaurants and other businesses are offering event-themed travel packages, discounts, and promotions. Examples include the SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh-Latrobe, owned by Latrobe favorite son Arnold Palmer, and Valley Dairy Restaurants, which are selling $5 commemorative lapel pins. For a list of all hotel, restaurant and other promotions, contact the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau at or call toll-free at (800) 333-5661.

All but a few of the many Great American Banana Split Celebration events and activities are free and open to the public. For more information, including a detailed schedule of events, go to


Source: Dole,