It's Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's!

By: Erin Zimmer

Until 8 PM tonight, 15 of the Washington area Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops will be doling out scoops of Chunky Monkey and Half-Baked for free. What's the occasion? It has nothing to do with tax day. The 29 year-old tradition falls on a different April day each year to raise money for local philanthropies.

Typical of Ben & Jerry's more-than-just-ice-cream attitude—they rallied on Capitol Hill in cow costumes earlier this year against the FDA's cloning claims—each store picks a separate charity to support. Local representatives from each will disperse pamphlets, help the scooping process and encourage donations, in lieu of normal payment.
 
Georgetown's M Street location is rooting for the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. The Old Post Office scoop shop on Pennsylvania Avenue will honor Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation . Bethesda's Fairmont Avenue store is helping Bethesda CARES.  
 

There really is no good time to beat today's crowds. Lines stay long, especially at urban locations like Dupont Circle, where last year, the queue trailed past the South-side Metro station for the promo’s entire eight hours. Georgetown's crowd—slated to be the busiest again this year—trailed 10 blocks.  
 
Since no other products will be available—forget the Phish Food shake or Strawberry Bananadanna Sundae—lines move fairly fast. Each kiddie-sized cone includes a scoop of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. Typically the Cookie Dough, vanilla and Cherry Garcia flavors go the fastest.

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