Dole Dishes Out Healthier Options at Latrobe’s Great American Banana Split Celebration

Newly commissioned banana split birthplace hosts second annual homecoming for banana lovers worldwide, including new healthy versions of the classic dessert

Two-day celebration, co-sponsored by The City of Latrobe, Dole Fresh Fruit and Saint Vincent College, will be held Aug. 22-23, 2014

LATROBE, Pa.--()--Last year, the world watched as Latrobe, Pa., 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.

Since 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 Celebration, August 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, Calif., 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 Center, Latrobe Community Revitalization Program, Latrobe Rotary Club, Valley Dairy Restaurants, Latrobe Business and Professional Women's Club, Latrobe Lions Club, Westmoreland 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, O.S.B., 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 throughout 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

For more information on DOLE Bananas, including recipes, serving suggestions and other information, go to or follow on Facebook at or, respectively.

About The City of Latrobe

With its relatively small size and proximity to Pittsburgh, the City of Latrobe affords its residents a full service community nestled within one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful regions. Home to great neighborhoods, excellent education, the arts, growing parks and recreation as well as strong manufacturing presence, Latrobe is not only a great place to visit, but also an ideal community to call home. Latrobe is recognized as the birthplace of the original banana split, Mr. Fred Rogers, Arnold Palmer, and the first ever professional football team! From its foundation in 1854, Latrobe’s proud past is felt amongst its many current residents, while its future remains aligned to its great heritage as the quintessential American town. To read more, visit

About Saint Vincent College

Saint Vincent College is a liberal arts and sciences college with a diverse student population of nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Sponsored by the Catholic, Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey, it was founded in 1846 and was the first Benedictine college in the United States. Saint Vincent College’s quality educational programs have earned national recognition by U.S. News and World Report (First Tier of National Liberal Arts Colleges) and Forbes business magazine (America’s Best Colleges). Saint Vincent takes special pride in its more than 12,000 alumni who live in all 50 states and in 28 foreign countries. They serve society in the fields of business management, education, finance, medicine, religion, law, government, sales, engineering, computer technology and many others. For information, visit

About DOLE Bananas

DOLE is the top-selling banana in America and the world — in both conventional and organic product categories. From its founding by James Drummond Dole, the company has built its reputation on a ceaseless commitment to quality. Today, the DOLE brand stands for more than 150 years of quality produce — and one of the world’s largest suppliers of fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas. Dole strives to grow, produce, harvest, transport and distribute its bananas and other produce in the most environmentally and socially conscious way possible. For information, go to

About Dole Food Company, Inc.

Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit


Bob Ochsner / Collin Whitley
(714) 881-2341

Release Summary

Dole Fresh Fruit, Saint Vincent College and the City of Latrobe, Penn. host the second annual Great American Banana Split Celebration Aug. 22-23, in the official birthplace of the classic dessert.


Bob Ochsner / Collin Whitley
(714) 881-2341