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Some York County businesses are getting ready for a new season with deals to celebrate the first day of spring.

Nonmall Dairy Queen and Dairy Queen Grill & Chill locations will be giving away free ice cream cones Tuesday, March 20, for the fourth year.

"This day has become a spring tradition and a sign that warmer weather is upon us," said Maria Hokanson, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corp.

Each customer is eligible to receive one small vanilla soft serve cone during Free Cone Day, while supplies last.

Participating locations also are collecting donations for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, for which DQ restaurants have raised more than $130 million.

Dairy Queen has several locations in York County, including a Grill & Chill at 1740 Roosevelt Ave. in West Manchester Township and two treat-only locations, at 1455 S. Queen St. in Spring Garden Township and 3020 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township.

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Rita's Italian Ice has made the first day of spring a tradition, returning for the 26th year to offer a free Italian ice to customers on the same day.

In addition to its annual giveaway, this year Rita's is searching for the best excuse to miss work or other responsibilities to line up at the nearest Rita's for free Italian ice.

The winner will receive free Rita's for a year and the "Ultimate Hooky Trip" to Miami, a three-day, two-night excursion.

"Need to take your goldfish to the vet? Raccoon steal your keys?" reads a news release. "That excuse might not win a year’s worth of free Italian ice at Rita’s, but you might just get out of work for the first day of spring."

Rita's will select the top three candidates submitting excuses for the contest through its Facebook page, and their audience will pick the winner.

The top three chosen by Rita's will all receive a year of Rita’s Italian Ice. To see official rules for the contest, visit ritasice.com/hookytrip.

Nearby Rita's locations include 351 Loucks Road in Manchester Township, 901 S. Queen St. in York Township and 3000 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township.

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