BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In 1997, Ben and Jerry did something that ice cream lovers across the globe would celebrate for years to come: they took chocolate ice cream, swirled in gooey marshmallow and sweet caramel, and finished it off with some chocolate Phish – er, fish. That’s right, 15 years ago, working in conjunction with the Vermont band, Phish, the ice cream makers created the flavor smash sensation Phish Food. At the same time, Phish launched their WaterWheel Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by proceeds from the sale of Phish Food ice cream. After 15 years, and millions of dollars raised for the benevolent works of the WaterWheel Foundation, things have kept moving along… swimmingly.
On Saturday, April 14th members of Phish and Ben & Jerry’s came together to celebrate their 15 year anniversary in a quirky event of cattle-strophic proportions. The undertaking would ring true for both organizations: a music-themed effort to form the World’s Largest Cowbell Ensemble in the biggest little city in the Green Mountain State where both the band and the ice cream makers got their start, Burlington, Vermont.
“The Waterwheel Foundation is our way of giving back, inspired by the state that has meant so much to us,” said Phish drummer Jon Fishman. “This Cowbell Ensemble was our chance to provide Vermont neighbors with ongoing support. They have, after all, supported us for so long,” added Fishman.
Phish’s drummer joined well over 1,600 fans for the event, nearly tripling the number of participants who helped set the previous cowbell ensemble record. The overflowing crowd, filling the upper block of Church Street, raised their cowbells and enthusiastically played along to the music, following Fishman’s lead, ringing their cowbells to the beat of the songs while enjoying free scoops of Phish Food which were served throughout the event.
“Most important to us – more than cowbells, even more than ice cream or music – is getting involved in the local community,” said Mike Hayes, Ben & Jerry’s organizer for the event. “In Vermont, our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors come first. It’s a concept that both Ben & Jerry’s and Phish have embraced and practiced over the years,” added Hayes.
All proceeds from the event, which totaled over $20,000, went to Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation’s Vermont Flood Recovery. This was not the first effort Phish has made to address the need created by Tropical Storm Irene in the previous year. Phish and the WaterWheel Foundation first supported Vermont Flood Recovery in September 2011 when they hosted a benefit concert raising $1.2 million dollars to help restore Vermont communities after Irene’s devastation.
Following the Cowbell Ensemble, an after party was hosted at Nectar’s, where Phish spun their newly pressed vinyl version of “Junta” and further raffles were held to raise financial support to help those affected by Irene.
For more information on Ben & Jerry’s or to find your local Scoop Shop, visit www.benjerry.com.
Ben & Jerry’s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH* on its labels. Ben and Jerry’s products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Contributions made via the employee-led Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 2011 totaled $1.98 million. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits both in Vermont and across the nation. The purpose of Ben & Jerry’s philanthropy is to support the founding values of the company: economic and social justice, environmental restoration and peace through understanding, and to support our Vermont communities. For the full scoop on all Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop locations and fabulous flavors, visit www.benjerry.com.
* The FDA has said no significant difference has been shown and no test can now distinguish between milk from rBGH treated cows and untreated cows. Not all the suppliers of our other ingredients can promise that the milk they use comes from untreated cows.
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