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Winter-weary Customers Celebrate Spring with Free Rita’s

DICKSON CITY -- After a rough week of winter, many enjoyed a tradition: starting spring with some free Italian ice at Rita's.

"Sugar-free mango peach is excellent, and I can now chop this off my bucket list."

That's right, getting Rita's free Italian ice on the first day of spring was on Nina Serfass's bucket list.

"Because I've always wanted to do it," said Serfass. "I was always afraid the lines would be way, way out. We hit it at the right time today."

Rita's celebrated its 25th annual first day of spring giveaway on Monday and we found several people at the Rita's in Dickson City who come for their free ice every year.

"I always come to Rita's on the first day of spring because I love it," said Kelly Mecca of Jessup. "I was actually here yesterday, too. I just love Rita's. It seems like the start of spring even though we have tons of snow on the ground."

And for those who say it's still too cold with snow on the ground for ice, others say free ice is free ice.

"This year has been a bit different as far as the beginning, but I have faith that by April, we'll be warm again," said Rita's Dickson City owner Jason Geake.

Geake says they will probably give away about 3,000 cups of ice by the end of the day. He says even though they've been open since the first week of March, it's been pretty cold and snowy since then. Now, it's spring.

Dontier Phelps is a student at Clarks Summit University. It was an exciting day for him.

"I've never been to Rita's. This is my first bite. It's amazing, too."

Despite some shivering hands, spirits were high and everyone was in a good mood getting their free ice at Rita's.

Rita's closes at 9 p.m. You can get your free cup of ice or add custard on top for $1.