WITH SNOW melted, temps in the 50s instead of the 20s and evening daylight, spring suddenly seems imminent.

And next Friday, March 20, on the first day of spring, Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill will host the final judging event of our contest to name the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly. This will be part of an all-day celebration of the Great American Meatout at Weavers Way, which also will feature vegan cheesesteaks at its hot bar that day.

Our panel of judges - author and M.D. Ana M. Negron, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, registered dietitian and activist Ed Coffin and Pat's Steaks proprietor Frank Olivieri Jr. - will taste the top three qualifying sandwiches on the philly.com ballot (find it at philly.com/vegancheesesteak) and name the 2015 winner.

With more than 1,000 votes cast for more than 25 local venues, the race is heating up: A venue that launched its sandwich for last year's competition is wrestling with two contest newcomers for the top spots, all vying to take the crown from the current titleholder, Blackbird Pizzeria.

Voting ends at noon March 18. On March 19, the Daily News will list the top 10 sandwiches in the contest as reflected by popular votes. The final contest winner will be announced in the Daily News on March 23.

- Vance Lehmkuhl