Forget Pokemon Go. For a lot of South Mississippians, this is the summer of Snow Boogers.
Don’t gross out. Snow Boogers is the name of what could be the trendiest snowball stand in the region. SUV loads of kids are being driven from Gulfport, Biloxi and Lucedale to the Big Level community in Stone County, just outside of Perkinston and Wiggins. Just check out the tags in the parking area.
What makes them different is what’s on top. No, not what you think. Picture chunks of cheesecake, skewers with huge clumps of pastel cotton candy, sugar-dusted sour gummy ribbon candy stacked on skewers. There are also specialties, such as the best-selling Strawberry Heaven Loaded, the Mangonado and Chocolate Rapture.
“Believe the hype!” one Gulfport mom posted on Facebook recently along with a photo of her daughter’s massive snowball and its oversized accoutrements.
Consider that Snow Boogers has been open for only two months — out in the county at 1030 King Bee Road — and continues to expand to meet the demand, and you realize what a phenomenon it’s become.
“We started with just the building, then we needed a place for our customers to sit out of the sun and weather, so we added the deck,” co-owner Julie Bond said over the roar of one of two powerful floor fans on the deck. Monroe Stewart, who owns Big Level Grocery just across the road, is the “numbers guy” of the operation, she said, and she supplies the creativity. Bond and her husband, Ivan, own the land and the building.
“Tomorrow we’re getting a second building to add on to this one, and you see that lumber out there? We’re getting a gazebo built out there so we can have live music sometimes,” Bond said.
Mondays are supposed to be their slowest day, but on this particular Monday, the parking area slowly filled up as the hot and humid midafternoon drew young and not so young out for their frozen treat fixes.
“This past weekend, we had them lined up all out to the road,” Stewart said.
“It started raining and they didn’t budge,” Bond added.
Bond had been pondering the possibility of opening “just a little old snowball stand.” So had Stewart.
The neighbors put their skills together, and Bond, who says she is a big fan of Pinterest, started getting creative with the snowballs. She also began kicking around names for the business.
“Me,” she said with a laugh when asked who settled on the name Snow Boogers.
One creation had gummy worms crawling scoops of the frozen concoctions, and the image of the colorful candy worms made her think of — well, you know. It doesn’t hurt that a silly-gross name strongly appeals to a youthful demographic.
You can fancy up a snowball as much or as little as you want. On this particular day one customer chose a s’mores snowball with ice cream stuffing, chocolate syrup, marshmallow cream and cheesecake. Another had a simple wedding cake snowball topped with a cotton candy skewer.
The specialties go beyond snowballs.
Strawberry Heaven, for example, has scoops of strawberry sorbet and coconut ice cream with ribbons of strawberry glaze and dollops of condensed milk plus cheesecake for $5.50.
Chocolate Rapture, also $5.50, features three scoops of vanilla ice cream with one scoop of coconut ice cream, plus a brownie, chocolate and caramel syrups, whipped topping and sprinkles.
Then there’s the Mangonado.
You can start with Sweet Mango-Bear: Mango sorbet with a strawberry glaze and gummy bears.
Advance to Traditional Magnonado: Mango with a chamoy swirl (chamoy is a sauce made from pickled fruit).
If your taste buds are ready for adventure, though, go for the Mangobear Dilly: Mango, chamoy, gummy bears, chopped dill pickles and powdered drink mix.
Dill pickles with mango sorbet? And gummy bears? Yes, it works, although Bond said those who try it either love it or reject it. If they love it, it seems they really love it.
“We had a man come to get the Mangobear Dilly and he came back, twice, in the same day,” she said.
There are sugar-free syrup flavors, and if you want a healthier accessory on your snowball, fruit skewers can be fashioned.
Chelsea Bond-Elizalde, Bond’s daughter, brought out one of their newest creations, the Strawberry Lemonhead. It includes lemon ice cream, strawberries, strawberry glaze, a lemon icebox pie-like topping with marshmallow topping and more strawberry glaze and topped with crushed sweet-sour lemon candies.
She and husband Joe also are part of the family-centered business.
Even with school starting, there’s no indication things will slack off. Business on weekdays tends to be at its most brisk during the mid- to late afternoon, Bond said.
“Snowballs might be over by the end of the summer, but the specialties are so popular, I can see them going farther into the rest of the year,” she said.
If you go
What: Snow Boogers
Where: 1030 King Bee Road, Perkinston
Hours: Back to school hours starting Aug. 8: 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday