Though winter only made a few appearances this year, the official start of spring is still two weeks away.

When the season of rebirth does arrive, local Rita’s and Dairy Queen locations will be open to help celebrate.

On March 20, more than 600 Rita’s stores will mark the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s annual “First Day of Spring Free Italian Ice Giveaway” by giving away more than 500,000 pounds of free Italian ice, according to a news release.

Patrons can visit any of the six Rita’s locations in York County to get their free Italian ice.

In addition, Dairy Queen and DQ Grill & Chill locations across the country will be doling out free small vanilla soft-serve cones  March 20 for the chain’s third annual “Free Cone Day,” according to a news release.

The franchise’s restaurants also will  collect donations for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Over the past 32 years, Dairy Queen stores have raised more than $120 million for the network of hospitals, according to the release.

Dairy Queen has three locations in York County – one in West Manchester Township, one in Springettsbury Township and one in Spring Garden Township.

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