Wilmington’s indeed split-tacular


Cliff Rosenberger - Ohio House Speaker



The banana split — it’s one of America’s most iconic desserts.

A banana divided in two, topped with three scoops of ice cream, and finished with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry. What could possibly be more delicious on a hot summer day?

To us in Wilmington, what makes the banana split so special is that it was originally created right here in 1907.

In downtown Wilmington, there used to be a restaurant called Hazard’s, owned and operated by Ernest Hazard. One cold and slow winter over 100 years ago, Ernest decided to entertain his employees with a little competition, offering unlimited ingredients to see who could come up with the most interesting and different dish.

And what became of the contest? The winner was, of course, Ernest himself! His creation was coined the banana split, a dessert that Wilmington would soon become known for.

In fact, as you likely know, Wilmington hosts an annual Banana Split Festival in June, and this year, we celebrated the 110th anniversary of the dessert’s invention. I was able to join in the festivities last week, and as always, it was a great time.

Some of the crowd favorites are the banana split eating contest and the build-your-own banana split booth, to which I certainly made a trip.

My favorite part of the day was the dunk tank, where I enjoyed spending time with my staff, friends, and family to watch some of them get dunked!

The greatest part of this festival is the sense of community it offers. Not only is it a fun-filled family event that attracts so many locals, but it also emphasizes a fascinating part of Wilmington’s history.

Many Ohioans have no idea that the banana split originated in our state, and I‘m proud that Wilmington is home to such a famous dish.

The community also comes together for the annual Lickety-Split 5K, supporting Heather’s Hope, a foundation for diabetes that was established in honor of Heather James, a graduate of Wilmington High School. It is always remarkable to witness the community join together for such an important cause.

As the Wilmington News Journal so aptly put it, the weekend of the Banana Split Festival was “split-tacular.”

I am truly lucky to represent such an incredible region of Ohio, and coming out for the event again confirmed that. Wilmington and its residents always go above and beyond to make the city a great place to live and raise a family, and the Banana Split Festival is a small part of everything Wilmington has to offer.

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.

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Cliff Rosenberger

Ohio House Speaker