Everyone’s favorite summer treat is the star of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s largest event of the summer.

The 16th-annual Ice Cream Sunday, which happens to land on National Ice Cream Day, is from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on July 21. The event routinely draws more than a thousand people.

Admission for Ice Cream Sunday is the same as regular museum admission: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children ages 4 to 17. Children 3 and under are admitted free.

The first 600 people to pay admission to Ice Cream Sunday receive a coupon for a free 5-ounce cup of Caliche’s Frozen Custard, with toppings, to use at the museum during the afternoon. Visitors are also invited to make their own ice cream using tin cans or plastic bags. Ingredients are provided and there will be instruction areas in the museum courtyard.

The popular annual ice cream sandwich eating races are scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m., with registration from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Only those who sign up will be allowed to compete and there will be a limited number of participants. The age categories for the races are: 4-6, 7-10, 11-13, 14-17, and 18-and-over. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each division.

There also will be old-fashioned games, activities, the regular museum offerings, and a plant sale featuring plants grown in the museum’s greenhouse. The Vintage Iron Tractor Club will give barrel rides to children, and museum volunteer Jerry Schickedanz will be making ice cream using a washing-machine motor and handing out free samples. Lost Cruces Escape Room and Red Hawk Golf Club will also have activities.

Aside from Caliche’s, Vintage Iron Tractor Club, Lost Cruces Escape Room and Red Hawk Golf Club, other supporters of the event include the Friends of the Museum, Southwest Dairy Farmers, GH Dairy, Whataburger, New Mexico Milkmaid, Adventure Zone, Allen Theaters, Chuck E. Cheese, Cracker Barrel, Heart of the Desert, Hubbard Music Store, McAllister’s Deli, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, Peter Piper Pizza #2, Rockin’ Jump, Tractor Supply Company, and Walmart on Rinconada.

While the ice cream sandwich eating contest and games are inside, the ice cream making activities are outside, so visitors are encouraged to bring hats or umbrellas. No pets are allowed; only service dogs that are officially certified. For more information, call (575) 522-4100.

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