You'll want to spring for two frozen freebies Tuesday.
Celebrate the official start of spring March 20 -- although it still may look like winter out the window -- with free treats from Dairy Queen and Rita's Italian Ice.
For its fourth annual "Free Cone Day," participating Dairy Queen and DQ Grill & Chill stores nationwide will give out free small vanilla soft-serve cones with the signature curl on top while supplies last. There are more than 4,400 U.S. locations.
The limit is one free cone per person, and mall locations are not participating.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and participating stores will collect donations for local hospitals. Last year, Dairy Queen fans and franchisees contributed nearly $300,000 in one day, according to a news release.
“This day has become a spring tradition and a sign that warmer weather is upon us,” Maria Hokanson, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corp., said in a statement.
Rita's Italian Ice freebie
Rita's has its own sweet freebie for its 26th annual first day of spring giveaway, which will be during regular hours Tuesday. Most stores are open noon to 9 p.m.
The company, which has more than 600 locations in 31 states, expects to give away more than 1 million cups of free Italian ices.
“We strive to not only serve our guests fresh, delicious Italian Ice, but happiness too,” said Linda Chadwick, Rita’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The First Day of Spring, along with a free cup of Rita’s Italian Ice, gives us the perfect opportunity to start the season by bringing a smile to everyone’s face.”
Although there is a limit of one free cup per person, there's also a chance to win free Italian ices for a year and a free three-day, two-night “Ultimate Hooky Trip” to Miami.
Rita's will select the top three excuses and then the company's Facebook fans will pick the winner of a trip for two with a retail value of $3,600. The three finalists all win a year of free ices.
According to the contest rules, the trip includes round-trip coach class air travel "from a major airport nearest the winner's resident to Miami," hotel accommodations, ground transportation and a camera.
Find contest rules at www.ritasice.com/hookytrip.
Kelly Tyko is a columnist for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. This column reflects her opinion. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista and follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko. Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/featured-newsletter/bargainistabest.