Celebrating the First Day of Spring with Free Snacks

KINGSTON, Pa. -- At 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, the season might have changed, but the weather sure did not. When the sun is not shining, one good way to brighten your day is a free snack.

"I'm here to get free ice," said Riley Frederick of Lehman. She stopped by Rita's Italian Ice in Kingston after school Tuesday.

On the first day of spring, there were several options for those free snacks. In Kingston, there were three choices all within one mile.

"It's freezing, but it's my happiness, and it's the first day of spring, why not? It's the only day to get Rita's," Frederick said.

Rita's is a long-time tradition. More recently, Dairy Queen has adopted its own version; it was the 4th Annual Free Cone Day.

"Even though it's freezing out, it's still winter, but it's never too cold for ice cream," said Jennifer Zackoski of Scranton.

Even local spots in Kingston celebrated the first day of spring. Josie's Italian Water Ice offered a free medium gelati to every customer who braved the winter cold.

"I thought of putting my gloves on, too. It's worth it," said Leslie Shumlas of Pittston.

Rita's has been giving away free Italian ice on the first day of spring every year for more than 20 years. The tradition for the frozen dessert chain has become a tradition for Italian ice lovers.

"Every year, I come with her every year, too. It's a best friend thing. We come every year for it," said Brenda Perez of Kingston.

"Every year, this is the day you have to come. If you're a Rita's fan, you have to be here today," Frederick added.

After waiting in line, most chose to eat their frozen dessert someplace a litter warmer.

"I would probably be sitting right there chilling, but it's too cold, so I'm just sitting in my car eating," Perez said, looking at the empty picnic tables and benches.

Many were thankful it was not snowing just yet, even though Wednesday, the second day of spring, could be a different story.

"More snow, just forever more snow. I expect it every Tuesday and Wednesday now," Zackoski said.