In honor of National Pretzel Day - for real - Philly Pretzel Factory is handing out free soft pretzels today at its more than 100 locations.
Sixty are in Pennsylvania, 38 in New Jersey, with a handful in Delaware, and one or two in five other states. Locations can be found at www.phillysoftpretzelfactory.com/#/locations.
No purchase necessary, the company says.
Lancaster pretzel-maker H.K. Anderson also has a kind of giveaway.
"The contest is simple," says spokesman Steve Robinson. "Starting today, people who go to the HK Anderson Pretzel Facebook Fan Page and 'like' the page, will be entered to win free pretzels for 365 days." Be sure to sign up and express your "Natural Nugget of Wisdom," but the three winners will be selected randomly. (Here's the sign-up link: www.facebook.com/HKAndersonPretzels?sk=app_122139254463179.)
National Pretzel Day was first declared by Congress in 1983 at the urging of U.S. Rep. Robert Walker, a Pennsylvania Republican. Gov. Ed Rendell revived the idea in 2003.
Also in on the celebration is Auntie Anne's, the Lancaster-based pretzel franchisor, which has grown to more than 1,000 locations around the world.
Since Pretzel Day coincides with National Dance Week, Auntie Anne's created a Pretzel Twist dance with the help of Alex Wong, a Miami City Ballet soloist who made the top 10 on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
In a video, he teaches the moves, which involve rolling, twisting and seasoning a pretzel, then doing a "happy bake dance." (See link to video at right.)