We’re really sorry, but Dairy Queen has cancelled Free Cone Day

Dark skies over DQ
Dark skies over DQ
Photo: Jim Steinfeldt (Getty Images)

I’m really sorry to do this on a Monday, but I come bearing bad news. Late last week, Dairy Queen announced that it would cancel its annual Free Cone Day for 2021 to avoid unnecessary crowding during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know, I know. It hurts me, too.


DQ posted the news on Facebook last Thursday, February 18. The chain wrote: “As spring approaches, we all look forward to Free Cone Day, an event that attracts long lines at our restaurants. Given the state of COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event with your safety and the safety of our crew members in mind.”

If you’ve never participated in Free Cone Day, it’s exactly what it sounds like: all guests get a free small vanilla soft-serve cone. It’s a glorious day, bringing together friend and foe alike with a common goal: free DQ, baby.

As chains cancel their annual promotions to avoid attracting crowds, Free Cone Day is the latest casualty (last summer, we lost 7-Eleven’s Free Slurpee Day, which was cancelled amid pandemic concerns). Fortunately, DQ concluded its post with a promise: a promise to bring back Free Cone Day in 2022 and “[celebrate] our fans in a sweet way.” With COVID cases dropping and new vaccination prospects on the horizon, it looks like there may be a light at the end of the dark, dank freebie-less tunnel. A light shaped like a free vanilla cone.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.



“...(I)t looks like there may be a light at the end of the dark, dank freebie-less tunnel.”

This is a good point. I also miss the “Senior Buffet” of free samples at Costco and the free bread slices at my local Great Harvest bakery. These are neither the most significant nor the most tragic things to happen in the last year, but I feel the loss.