Finally, with the season's first sunburns under our belts, we've entered peak ice cream season. The best possible way to celebrate this? Gorging on as much of the sweet stuff as you can.

For the past three months, Johnson's Real Ice Cream in Bexley has had a monster of a new menu item. It's their Sundae Challenge. Should you choose to take on the behemoth, here's what you're in for:

-8 scoops of ice cream of your choice (at least one of which should be their old-school, custardy lemon)
-8 toppings of your choice
-3 bananas
-Mountains of whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries.

The beast weighs in at about 4 pounds. And best of all, here's the deal: if you can beat the current record by yourself, you get the $19.95 sundae for free. But brace yourself--the current record is 15 minutes and 7 seconds. Owner Matt Wilcoxon says the record before that hovered around 26 minutes.

If you know your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you're also free to split the sundae with up to 7 of your closest friends, though you won't be in the running for a free sundae if you take this on as a team.

Wilcoxon has a few tips for would-be challengers: first, brace yourself for the inevitable sugar crash. Second, plan ahead and come on your emptiest possible stomach.

And finally, leave the diet behind.

"We can't disclose the number of calories this sundae has," he says. "Eat it at your own risk."

For the less sundae-inclined, Johnson's also has an intriguing new collection of flavors coming to their scoop shops and local markets later this month. They're partnering with four local businesses to develop signature flavors for a "Columbus Collection." You can already taste the first of these at the store: Salty Caramel Nutty Blonde, which features blondie chunks from Sugardaddy's in vanilla bean and salty caramel ice cream. By June 17, you'll also be able to sample a chocolate-covered cashew crunch flavor with nuts from Krema Nut Company, a white chocolate, caramel and Crimson Cup coffee-laced mocha flavor and the entire-pie-in-a-scoop of Apple Blueberry Crisp, which will have apple pie from Just Pies and graham cracker crust mixed into blueberry swirl ice cream. They'll be available at gourmet markets for $6.99 a pint around then as well. But you can always make an outing of tasting them at Johnson's storefront on Main Street on a Thursday night, when a rambling bluegrass band takes over their kid-friendly patio from 7-9 for an open-air concert.
Johnson's Real Ice Cream 2728 E. Main St., Bexley 614-231-0014