Did you know that there are an abundance of daily holidays and special days every month? Some are immersed in tradition, while others may be silly, bizarre, unique, special or inspirational. Unofficial Holidays are not traditionally marked on calendars but are celebrated by various groups and individuals. Some are designed to promote a cause or to recognize historical events not recognized officially, while others are fun holidays, generally intended to just be humorous. So, in the midst of our busy lives, maybe consider taking time to enjoy some of the entertaining but lesser-known holidays throughout the year.

A new month has begun – so let’s welcome July with a few fun facts. July is most famous for its fun-filled-patriotic holiday on July 4th, where we celebrate our Country’s independence. But, did you know the month of July was named after Julius Caesar by a decision of the Roman Senate in 44 B.C., as July was the month of his birth? It is also one of the hottest months of the year for the entire Northern Hemisphere. Yes, we’re officially in the dog days of summer. So, grab your old record player and sing along to Hot Fun in the Summertime by the funky trailblazers, Sly and the Family Stone while you plan some other fun celebrations to get through this muggy month.

Let’s start our month celebrating the crisp, juicy, finger-licking-good fried chicken. Friday, July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day where we all can indulge in one of America’s favorite food. You may think that Colonel Sanders invented fried chicken, but it was actually the Scottish who were the first to deep-fry chicken in fat and they brought the dish with them to America. Our beloved KFC buckets didn’t arrive on the scene until 1952 when Colonel Sanders opened the first Kentucky Fried Chicken in Salt Lake City, Utah. Business boomed, especially after he invented the now-iconic to-go bucket. If you have no plans for dinner on this day, just wing it! Either hit your local KFC or for some of the best-fried chicken around, visit Fred’s Market restaurant located at 6501 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview.

Let’s move on from fried chicken to the chicken of the sea – well, not actually chicken – but the ever-popular shark! Saturday, July 14 is Shark Awareness Day and nothing is more fun than a trip to the Florida Aquarium to see these majestic creatures face-to-face. The first known shark dates back more than 420 million years ago, which is even before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Thanks to some feel-good movies such as Jaws and Sharknado, the shark has gained quite the killer reputation. However, many sharks are endangered species. Statistically, humans kill 100 million sharks a year, yet the odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million. (The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 600,000.) There are more than 440 shark species, from the 40-ft.-long whale shark to the 9-inch pale catshark. Come ‘sea’ for yourself at the Florida Aquarium. For more ‘FIN-formation’, visit www.flaquarium.org.

On Friday, July 20, all space-lovers can unite in celebration of National Moon Day. This historic day honors man’s first walk on the moon in 1969 when Apollo 11 launched astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. into space history. Upon landing, Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong reported, “The Eagle has landed.” Although we don’t know when man will walk on the moon again, we can use this day to pay homage to this amazing accomplishment. If you are looking for a place with great atmosphere to celebrate, grab the whole family in your space shuttle and beam on over to the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville. There is something for the whole family to enjoy and don’t forget to show off your pictures on social media using #MoonDay. For more information, visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

On Tuesday, July 24, grab a lime and the salt because it’s National Tequila Day! On this day, millions of Americans will partake in this national drink of Mexico. As you enjoy a margarita or a shot or two of tequila, take a moment of silence to honor the blue agave plant.

Mexican law states that Tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant grown in Tequila, Mexico and a few other nearby regions. Tequila is so popular, more than 300 million plants are harvested each year. Impress your friends with a little tequila trivia -according to Guinness World Records, the most expensive bottle of tequila was worth $225,000 in 2006. Consider raising a shot glass to honor this day at Tres Amigos Cantina located at 2525 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Or, you could always pull out your 1973 Eagle’s album and sing along to It’s Another Tequila Sunrise.

If you’re wild about big cats, then Friday, July 29 will give you a grrrreat day to celebrate. International Tiger Day observes the beautiful and majestic tiger, the largest cat on the planet. Over the last century, the tiger population has decreased 97 percent, and with only an estimated 3,000 tigers left in the wild, they are on the brink of extinction. If you’re looking for the ‘purrfect’ way to honor International Tiger Day, consider joining Big Cat Rescue located at 12802 Easy St. in Tampa to raise funds to help wild tigers. Big Cat will match the profit from your purchases of it’s 2018 International Tiger Day merchandise and all donations on its International Tiger Day merchandise page dollar for dollar up to $5,000 and donate it to tiger rescue foundations, visit www.bigcatrescue.org.

July boasts many other fun holidays including International Kissing Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day, World Emoji Day, visit www.holidayinsights.com.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.