“Every day a holiday” on the national day calendar

As we start into a new year, some clarifications may be in order: National Lima Bean Respect Day (April 20) is not actually a national holiday. Nor is it National Talk In An Elevator Day (July 28), or even the much-loved National Taco Day (October 4). What these so-called “national days” actually are is largely the invention of Marlo Anderson of Mandan, North Dakota. “I’ve always had a penchant for celebration,” he explained. “And I dug around where National Popcorn Day (Jan. 19) came from and couldn’t find any real information.”

So he started keeping a blog called the National Day Calendar, which has since grown into the sort of official ruling for those often odd days you see people celebrate on Facebook, or hear them talk about on morning TV.

“In the first month, about 1,000 people came to the site,” Anderson said. And after six months, “we had 1 million people a month coming to the site. And I’m like, ‘This is really interesting.'”

Anderson had been running a video conversion and computer repair business out of a small building in Mandan, but then the calendar took off. “We actually had a meeting about two years after this started, about whether it should go away or continue, because it was stressing the company,” he said. “We were really getting stressed out here because of hundreds of phone calls, thousands of emails for something we’re not getting paid for.”

Anderson decided to go “all in” on the calendar, creating a system where people can suggest new national days online, and that’s where Amy Monette and Doug Philip come in. They are part of the team on the national day that votes on what does (and doesn’t) get a place in the calendar.

They told Burbank that really big days include National Pizza Day (February 9), National Hot Dog Day (July 19), National Beer Day (April 7) and National Donut Day (November 5). “We have many food days!” Monette said.

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CBS News


Burbank asked, “Are people just looking for an excuse to eat a donut?”

“I think people are looking for an excuse just to have fun,” Monette said.

Monette and Philip assured Burbank that they have no government authority to do this. “Absolutely not!”

The government of course has the 11 actual national holidays we are all familiar with.

Also on the national day calendar are “sponsored” days, where a company pays money to have a national day “declared” for its product, which makes business sense for someone like Kim Francis, spokesperson for the Checkers and Rally’s chain of restaurants.

And they take national days into account. “In an average year, we can sell up to 135,000 pounds of fries per restaurant,” she said. “But National French Fry Day (July 14), we certainly plan weeks in advance to make sure we have plenty of fries to meet the demand … that’s how impactful it is.”

Checkers and Rally’s had actually driven their “Fry Love Express” to Mandan, ND, to celebrate the wonderful news: National French Fry Day was moved from a Wednesday to a (naturally) Friday! Locals lined up for free food, but seemed largely unaware that these national days were decided right down the block.

Burbank asked one woman, “Are you ever in a conversation with somebody, or your friend or whatever, and they say, ‘Hey, guess what, it’s National Wine Day (May 25), let’s have some wine ” ?”

“Yes,” she replied, also noting the celebration of National Grandparents Day (September 10). “I was definitely going to post “Happy Grandparents Day” to my mom.

That seems to be why this National Day calendar thing has taken off, because we could all use a reason to reach out to a sibling (National Sibling Day, April 10), or eat a blueberry popsicle (National Blueberry Popsicle Day, Sept. 2 ), or even National Step in A Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day, which is right around the corner on Jan. 11.

(PS: Today, 8 January, is National Argyle Day, National Winter Skin Relief Day, World Writing Day and Earth Rotation Day, among other things.)

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Story produced by Julie Kracov. Editor: Carol Ross.

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