When the final bell of the school day rings, children who are recently back to school are let out into scorching Florida summer heat.
Many are looking to cool off, and head to Snow Time Snowballs, at 440 N. Volusia Ave. in Orange City.
At the corner of Volusia and French avenues, Snow Time Snowballs is just a little over a mile from Blue Spring State Park, cooling off kids and adults alike with their New Orleans-style sno-balls.
Owners Greg and Donna Sizemore, also known as Mr. Frosty and the Ice Queen, have been packing sno-balls since 1998, when they opened their first establishment in Gulfport, Mississippi.
“Where we grew up, there were sno-ball places on every corner. When we got to Florida, we couldn’t believe there weren’t any,” said Donna Sizemore, who is also a fourth-grade teacher at Manatee Cove Elementary in Orange City.
After moving to Deltona, the Sizemores opened their first Florida shop on the corner of Blue Springs Avenue in Orange City. After a different company bought that land, the Sizemores found the spot where they’ve had their store since January 2018.
Snow Time Snowballs is on a corner lot; it’s a small, air-conditioned shop with vibrant picnic tables outside shaded by an overhang.
Their sign depicts a polar bear wearing sunglasses, holding a sno-ball in his paw, with a background of sun and palm trees, as if the bear’s found a way to cool off in the tropical climate.
Inside, you are met by the employees, “ice princesses” and “ice dudes” who are more than happy to help you figure out the menu.
Before my first visit, I didn’t know the difference between a sno-ball and a snow cone. Manager Nicole Figueroa informed me that “sno-balls originated in New Orleans and are more finely shaved ice, which is light and fluffy, while snow cones are crunchy and coarse.”
Snow Time’s menu board has 72 flavors, plus three new ones that haven’t yet been added to the board!
“The kids love the rainbow flavor, while the adults tend to pick strawberry cheesecake as one of the favorites,” Figueroa said. “It really varies between the categories if they want fruity, sour or creamy.”
Not only can you get sno-balls, but you can also get them stuffed with soft-serve ice cream, making them stuffed sno-balls.
Snow Time also makes its own cotton candy in-house, and offers banana splits and ice-cream cones.
I was eager to try a sno-ball, and ordered a strawberry cheesecake with a stuffed tiger’s blood flavor.
Ice dude Dominic Abel took me on a behind-the-scenes tour and showed me the special glycol freezer where giant ice blocks are created. Snow Time workers take a sleeve with a frozen ice block to a sink and run water over it until the ice slides out from the sleeve. The ice is stored until it’s brought to a snow machine for shaving.
Just as a bartender would pour liquor into a drink, an ice dude and an ice princess poured flavor into my strawberry cheesecake and tiger’s blood sno-ball, turning the shaved ice into art.
It was creamy with a fruit-forward finish, and the texture of the ice was soft. It disappeared as fast as it hit my tongue. Watch out for the brain freeze!
Tiger’s blood is a mixture of cherry and coconut, with a balance of tartness and sweetness. This sno-ball was stuffed with vanilla ice cream, and I personally think that added a new layer of enjoyment to this summertime classic.
Snow Time Snowballs is a fun and family-oriented place, and the staff is very accommodating to your furry friends who want to join in on a family adventure.
Snow Time offers a 15-percent discount to all military, first responders, and teachers who have ID cards.
It’s a great place to grab a treat and beat the heat!