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Posted at 01:05 PM ET, 03/20/2012

First day of spring: Celebrate by scoring some freebies

Rita's Italian Ice is giving away one free regular-sized Italian ice to each customer who goes into one of their locations today, including this one at 2318 Rhode Island Ave. NE. (Jeffrey Porter for The Washington Post)
In case you missed it, spring began at 1:14 a.m. today. Though it’s felt almost summer-like lately, you can now finally celebrate the official end of The Winter That Wasn’t. Several food chains in the D.C. area are celebrating the change of season too, marking the day with a variety of mouthwatering promos.

— Outback Steakhouse is offering free Bloomin’ Onions at its restaurants — there are 10 in the counties that border D.C. — throughout the day. To get it free, you’ll need to tell your server you’re there to “Bloom Into Spring.”

— In what has become an annual tradition, Rita’s Italian Ice is giving away one free, regular-size Italian ice to each customer who comes into one of its locations between noon and 9 p.m. There are Rita’s franchises throughout the area, including three in D.C.

— Through March 31, if you buy a Blizzard treat at Dairy Queen, you can get a second one of an equal or smaller size for 99 cents. This winter we barely got any snow, but you can make believe with a nice frosty treat at one of the 17 DQ locations within 20 miles of D.C.

— Today and tomorrow, if you get an adult-sized entree at Chili’s, you can get a free appetizer or dessert. Chili’s has nine locations within 20 miles of D.C.

By Jimm Phillips  |  01:05 PM ET, 03/20/2012

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