Drawn by the delicious promise of free frozen yogurt, hundreds of people lined up outside Yogurtland in Campus Pointe on Tuesday.
From 4 to 7 p.m., customers celebrated International Frozen Yogurt Day by helping themselves to as much frozen yogurt and tasty toppings as they could fit in their cups.
New flavors were available such as chocolate wafer bar made with Kit Kats, and dairy-free pina colada made with coconut milk. Yogurtland also sold ice cream. The flavors were creamy vanilla and chocolate malt flavor made with Whoppers.
The free event was more than just a way to showcase new flavors and toppings, said Ajay Hira, owner of Yogurtland Campus Pointe and Yogurtland River Park.
“Really it’s our way of giving back to the community,” Hira said. “If it wasn’t for all the people here in line right now, we wouldn’t be in business.”
Hira said the Campus Pointe location is popular among a diverse array of families such as Fresno State students and their families who come to visit and stop in for some frozen yogurt.
Likewise, the line for frozen yogurt included a crowd of people of all ages and plenty of families.
Many children left their parents in line as they danced carefree to upbeat songs on the lawn at the center of the dining plaza.
DJ D Soto provided music, while special guest appearances from Captain America, Spiderman and Fresno Grizzlies mascot, Parker T. Bear, excited customers young and old.
A group of Fresno State students waiting in line talked about their favorite flavors.
Samantha Soong, a senior studying recreation administration, said her favorite flavor is pistachio, but she keeps the toppings to a minimum.
“I don’t like to be too excessive,” Soong said.
On the other side of the counter, June Vang, a liberal studies major, helped hand out spoons to the guests as they walked out with their cups piled high.
Vang, whose favorite flavor is vanilla ice cream with brownies, offered advice to those trying to decide among the numerous topping choices.
“No matter what flavor, vanilla wafers and brownies are a must,” Vang said.
In addition to giving away free frozen yogurt once a year for the past eight years, Hira has used his Yogurtland business to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities and teamed up with local children’s hospitals.
“Every year, we choose a charity,” Hira said. “We work with them. We know what they do in the community, and we can see them and the impact they have.”
Hira said he is also committed to helping students make a difference in their community.
Whether it’s a question about what it’s like to be a business owner or if you’re simply looking for a donation of free frozen yogurt for an organized community event, Hira encouraged students to grab his business card and give him a call.
“Because, like I said, this isn’t about me. It’s not about Yogurtland. It’s the bigger picture,” Hira said. “We’re here for everybody.”