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For the Safety of Water Ice Lovers Everywhere, Rita’s Nobly Cancels Free Water Ice Day

The best day of the year will have to wait until 2022

A hand holding up a quart of Rita’s water ice Rita’s/Facebook

Springtime in Philadelphia: the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the Phillie Phanatic is waking up from his months-long winter slumber. Most of all, though, residents of Philadelphia and the greater Philadelphia area identify the change in seasons by getting something for nothing. The annual tradition of eating free water ice at Rita’s Italian Ice on the first day of spring makes surviving the miserable Northeast winter worth it.

But this year, due to the ongoing pandemic in the region, Rita’s announced this week that for the second year in a row, there will no free water on the first day of spring.

The decision was not an easy one, a post on Rita’s Instagram account reads: “But the reality is that our First Day of Spring event draws large crowds, so we’ve chosen to cancel Free Italian Ice Day on 3/20/2021 to keep everyone safe.”

There are other plans in the works: “While we can’t celebrate together on March 20, we plan on celebrating healthcare workers who have been keeping us safe throughout the year.” When asked by a commenter to clarify, Rita’s responded that they will be celebrating healthcare workers closer to the first day of spring and to keep any eye out on social media for updates.

While the news is sad for all those who mark their calendars by this priceless springtime tradition, fear not. There is plenty of water ice to be had in countless places around the area: Turns out, you just have to pay for it.

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