TREVOSE, Pa., March 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Rita's Italian Ice, the world's largest Italian Ice concept with more than 600 stores in 30 states and 5 countries, celebrates the first day of spring with its 24th annual First Day of Spring Free Italian Ice Giveaway — known to many Rita's guests as simply "FDOS" — and the return of its famous, award-winning Frozen Custard to stores nationwide. More than one million Rita's guests from coast to coast will join in on the family-favorite tradition on Sunday, March 20 to snag their free Italian Ice as a fun way to usher in the new season.
"Rita's FDOS tradition is so incredibly unique in that it brings kids, grandparents and everyone in between together and puts a smile on their faces year after year without fail," said Jeff Moody, chief executive officer of Rita's Italian Ice. "If FDOS wasn't 'sweet' enough, this year there's twice as much to celebrate as our fans can again enjoy our famous Frozen Custard in all of our stores nationwide."
Spreading Ice, Custard and Happiness
As part of the springtime celebration, all guests who visit a Rita's location on March 20 during operating hours will receive a free Italian Ice in a limited-edition First Day of Spring cup. Guests are encouraged to snap a photo of their "cool treat" and share it on Instagram and Twitter using #RitasFirstDayOfSpring to enter into the Rita's First Day of Spring Photo Contest. All guests who use the hashtag from March 20-March 25 will be entered to win free Rita's Italian Ice for a year. Three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be announced on Rita's social media channels on March 31. To view the official rules, please visit www.ritasice.com/fdoscontestrules/.
Additionally, Rita's will debut a new, redesigned Rita's Rewards mobile app whereby guests can earn rewards by making purchases. All Rewards Members will receive a free "punch" on March 20 toward a free regular Italian Ice, Frozen Custard or Gelati as part of the annual celebration. The Rita's Ice Rewards app is available via the iTunes App store or Google Play store.
A Sweet Season Ahead
For many Rita's stores, FDOS will mark the unofficial start of the "treat season," which will be more delicious than ever this year with the debut of bold and exciting flavors. New this season are JOLLY RANCHER® Treats — two JOLLY RANCHER® Italian Ice flavors and a sweet and tangy crushed JOLLY RANCHER® Topping. JOLLY RANCHER® Green Apple Italian Ice and the crushed topping will be available beginning on March 21, followed by the debut of JOLLY RANCHER® Watermelon Italian Ice on April 4.
Earlier this year, Rita's also introduced an extension to its signature Italian Ice — All-Natural Italian Ice. The new product is made with simple, natural ingredients and comes in four delicious flavors: Pineapple, Strawberry, Orange and Banana.
Guests are encouraged to inquire at their local store for daily menu items.
Fun Rita's First Day of Spring Facts
- 1992 marked Rita's Italian Ice's first-ever First Day of Spring Free Italian Ice Giveaway.
- Rita's will give away Italian Ice to more people than the population of Vermont and Wyoming combined.
- It is expected that more than 500,000 pounds of free Italian Ice will be given out as part of the beloved annual celebration, which is heavier than the weight of the Statue of Liberty.
- Rita's top five most popular Italian Ice flavors are Mango, Cherry, Cotton Candy, SWEDISH FISH® and Lemon.
- Rita's uses more than 300,000 pounds of mangoes annually to create its #1 Italian Ice flavor, Mango.
To find a Rita's location near you, visit www.ritasice.com.
About Rita's Italian Ice
The popular chain offers many delicious frozen treats that combine their famous Italian Ice and award-winning Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard, including layered Gelati, blended Misto® Shake and a personalized Blendini® which mixes Italian Ice, Frozen Custard and a delicious topping. Other menu items include Milkshakes, Frozen Drinks, Sundaes, Frozen Custard Cakes and Custard Cookie Sandwiches. Since 1984, Rita's has been dedicated to serving up a big dose of happiness with its freshly made, delicious treats in a fun-filled atmosphere, and over thirty years later, it is still spreading "Ice, Custard, Happiness!" For more information about Rita's Italian Ice, please call 1-800-677-7482 or visit www.ritasice.com.
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SOURCE Rita's Italian Ice