Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day: Celebrate spring with free ice cream

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day means free ice cream for every customer, just in time for warmer weather. Ben & Jerry's also teams up with local charities to raise money and awareness on Free Cone Day. 

Ben & Jerry's/AP/File
A pint of frozen Greek yogurt from Ben & Jerry's. Tuesday, April 9, 2013 marks the ice cream maker's 34th annual Free Cone Day, where customers can snag a free scoop of ice cream and donate to local charities.

Sure, there’s baseball and crocus buds. But is there any better way to celebrate the year’s first gasp of warm weather than free ice cream?

Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t think so. The ice cream maker’s 34th annual “Free Cone Day” has arrived, just in time for the first 70-degree day since October here in Boston. Between noon and 8 p.m. Tuesday, visit any participating location for a complimentary scoop of any flavor you please.

Free Cone Day 2013 comes with a few new developments. There are new flavors, including Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt, Candy Bar Pie, and a slightly edited version of Chubby Hubby.  There’s an Instagram tie-in, where participants can submit their Cone-day related photos with the hashtag #captureeuphoria  (non-specific, but very Ben & Jerry’s).

Free ice cream is all well and good, but Free Cone Day has a deeper reach: as in past years, many of the participating Ben & Jerry’s locations use the event to raise money and awareness for charities, with local celebrities incluing politicians, athletes, and radio DJs making appearances and scooping ice cream.  The shops pick the organizations, which range from volunteer firefighting corps to local branches of larger charities, like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Operation Smile

Another milestone: this year, Ben & Jerry’s will announce that all of the ice cream sold in its stores (or "scoop shops") will be Fairtrade certified going forward.

Since its founding in 1978, Ben & Jerry’s has had a rich activist history. Until it was acquired by the Anglo-Dutch food conglomerate Unilever in 2000, it had a wage policy that executive salaries could not exceed seven times that of entry level employees. In 2005, when Congress opened the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling, the company protested by creating a 900 pound baked Alaska and placed it in front of the US Capitol Building. Ben & Jerry’s has thrown its support behind a slew of other causes, including gay marriage and the push to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in commercial food products.

 To find a Ben & Jerry’s location near you, visit the company’s website at benjerry.com, and a live map will appear, with scoop shop locations near you appropriately marked. 

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