Dole Inducts First Three Members of Banana Hall of Fame

March 5, 2024
New Dole Banana Hall of Fame continues 125th anniversary celebration, honoring Bananas Foster and Banana Split creators as well as Dole’s banana mascot.

In the latest move celebrating its 125th anniversary (or, “Banana-versary”), Dole Food Co. has established the Dole Banana Hall of Fame and the first three inductees, representing a very wide spectrum of the lore, legacy and global appeal of the banana, according to a release from Dole.

The three inaugural inductees are:

  • Brennan’s New Orleans — In 1951, the Brennan family challenged their chef de cuisine to create a signature dish using the banana for a special evening honoring their family friend, Richard Foster. With that, the legendary flaming dessert synonymous with New Orleans and bananas was born. The dessert has become an institution and Brennan’s most popular menu item ever since. Today, grandson Ralph Brennan proudly carries on the tradition, using more than 17 tons of bananas every year, the Dole release stated.
  • City of Latrobe, Pa. — Bananas and dessert history seem to go hand-in-hand in this class of inductees. In 1904, the banana split was born in Latrobe, Pa., when David Strickler, a 23-year-old drugstore soda jerk, cut a banana lengthwise, added vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream and topped it with syrups, marshmallow, chopped nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. It took only a few years for the banana split to become a national phenomenon and Strickler an ice cream industry legend. Latrobe began hosting the Great American Banana Split Celebration in 2013, when it also commemorated the site of the original pharmacy with an official historical marker.
  • Bobby Banana — The mascot of the Dole Food Co., focused on promoting healthy living and a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, was introduced in the 1980s. With his bright yellow skin and ever-present smile, the 7-foot Dole Banana is a symbol of vitality, happiness and wellness to audiences of all ages. This year, in honor of Dole’s 125th Banana-versary, Bobby will be honored with a special display at the National Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting Ind., 30 miles south of Chicago, from June through September.

These three inaugural inductees are just the beginning, however. Dole said that it will announce additional inductees throughout 2024, and that anyone can make a nomination — from people and places; to banana dishes, drinks and desserts; to bananas in film, TV, music and popular culture — by using the hashtag #DoleBananaVersary on any Dole social media page.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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