Tuesday is the first day of spring, and a couple of businesses are continuing their tradition of welcoming the season with free tasty treats.
Rita's is inviting customers to "wake your taste buds from their winter hibernation" by dropping in for a free Italian ice between noon and 9 p.m.
For more than 20 years, the ice and custard purveyor says its offered each and every guest a free ice. Last year, nearly 1 million cups were given away in the nine-hour period, the company says on its website.
The chain has locations at 2001 McHenry Ave., Modesto; 1448 Hulsey Road, Manteca; 1515 Mitchell Road, Ceres; 2745 Countryside Drive, Turlock; and 2830 Shaffer Road, Atwater.
On Facebook, Rita's also is holding a contest to win a three-day, two-night "Ultimate Hooky Trip" to Miami. The winner will be the contestant who posts the best excuse to ditch daily responsibilities to visit Rita's on Tuesday for a free ice.
Dairy Queen has made the first day of spring Free Cone Day. It's giving each customer at participating locations a free small vanilla cone. It notes that mall locations are out — eliminating its spot at Vintage Faire — but area locations include 2508 Oakdale Road, Modesto, and 1138 S. Main St., Manteca.
Also coming on the first day of spring, at absolutely no charge? More rain.
The National Weather Service forecast says Modesto can expect from 1 to 2 inches of rain between Tuesday and Friday, and Sonora 3 to 4 inches.
From Tuesday through Thursday, the Modesto forecast calls for between a 60 and 70 percent chance of rain each day and night. Friday is expected to be mostly sunny, then a slight chance of rain returns Saturday.