The annual tradition is back: Rita’s Italian Ice is celebrating the first day of spring with a sweet freebie.

On Thursday, the nation’s largest Italian ice retailer will celebrate its 22nd annual Free Ice Giveaway in honor of spring’s arrival. Simply stop in any of the over 600 Rita’s Italian Ice locations nationwide to redeem a free 12-oz. regular Italian ice.

The offer is valid with no purchase necessary only on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from store opening until 9 p.m. Spring officially begins at 12:57 p.m. EDT when the vernal equinox, or when the sun moves across the celestial equator, happens.

Customers can snag the free Regular Ice in a limited edition cup in any flavor of their choice of the 65 offered.

“We are excited to celebrate our 22nd annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway and welcome our Guests to enjoy their first taste of spring on us,” Rita’s CEO Jeff Moody said.

Rita’s is also encouraging customers to post photos with their Italian ice using the hashtag #RitasFirstDayOfSpring for a chance to win free Rita’s Ice for a year or other prizes.

Trevose, Pa.-based Rita's Italian Ice has been celebrating the Free Ice giveaway day annually since 1992 through its motto: “Ice, Custard, Happiness.”

To find the nearest Rita's Italian Ice near you, visit for store locations and make sure to ask for free Italian ice on March 20 in honor of the first day of spring. All locations in the United States participate, with the exception of resort locations, mobile units, and special venues like stadiums and theme parks. Guests are not permitted to get multiple Italian ices or pick them up for family or friends.

The company is also debuting its new flavor available for a limited time: Starburst cherry ice, available from noon on March 20 until April 6. Later in the spring season, Rita’s will also over Starburst orange ice on sale from April 7 to April 27 and wild berry ice from April 28 to May 18.