Mmm: Hello, Free Cone Day

Ben & Jerry's annual no-money-needed treat event is back, ice cream fans.

SPRINGTIME IS FULL OF FREE THINGS, from those sudden breezes that seem redolent of peach to the admiring of cherry blossoms to the enjoyment of a surprise shower, the kind that only barely gets your hair damp (but makes all of the blooming tree branches sparkle). There's another free thing on the spring calendar, but it doesn't involve something outdoors, though eating it outdoors is perfectly acceptable and even recommended. It's ice cream, we speak of, but not any ol' ice cream. Ben & Jerry's, the longtime Vermont desserterie, the famed house behind Chunky Monkey and Phish Food, has given away free cones of goodness on a particular day of the year since 1979, first in its home state and then practically everywhere else. "Everywhere else" absolutely includes California, so prepare yourself, cone-craving people of Oakland and San Jose and San Francisco and points beyond: Tuesday, April 12 is Free Cone Day.

FREE CONE DAY... does, as you might suspect, involve you enjoying a free ice cream cone, but there is the matter of joining the queue inside -- or outside -- a participating Ben & Jerry shop. The lines can be rather lengthy, but if you find yourself on the other side of the door -- on the other side of where the ice cream is, rather -- best enjoy those free spring things, like breezes and blossoms. There are no strings to this long-running deal, but if you want a second scoop, you'll need to hop back in line. As for the flavors? Cherry Garcia, Americone Dream, and all of the chocolate-y standards are ice cream case classics at the funky-flavor company. The time? Be there from noon to 8 o'clock in the evening. Will you go with your tried-and-true vanilla-focused flavor or something a tad zany? We vote the latter; after all, if you're not paying for it, why not branch out? It's just a cone, after all, hand-hold-able and gone in fifty licks or so. Dare to dream of a different dessert, no cash required.

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