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.
Welcome to August! It’s hot, we’re in the third month of summertime and the kids are savoring the last few days sleeping and swimming before they head back to school. But, did you know August is the only month without any kind of holiday? That’s right – there are no holidays in August! None. Every other month has either a federal holiday, or a celebratory day to eat and drink, or at least a day to buy someone an overpriced greeting card. But, not poor August. Up until now, the only notable thing attributed to August was watching my mother pay homage to the King of Rock-n-Roll, Elvis Presley, on the day of his passing every August 16 since 1977. Well, good news! There are many unofficial holidays worth celebrating throughout the entire month!
Let’s get a shining start on the month by paying homage to the silent, but bright guardians of our coastlines and ships – the majestic lighthouse. Tuesday, August 7 is National Lighthouse Day honoring our nation’s lighthouses that have been guiding ships safely back to port during inclement weather for hundreds of years. On August 7, 1789, through an Act of Congress and signed by President George Washington, a new law was established giving the Federal Government control of our nation’s lighthouses.
With new GPS technology, lighthouses today have become more of a symbol of safe harbor. Did you know there are 29 lighthouses in Florida? To celebrate this day, take a short day trip and visit one of the several lighthouses in our area. It’s a short drive to the Anclote lighthouse in Tarpon Springs, the Egmont Key lighthouse in St. Petersburg or the Gasparilla lighthouse on Boca Grande.
Notably, when the Egmont Key lighthouse was built in 1848, it was the only lighthouse on the Gulf coast of Florida between Key West and the panhandle. It was damaged by hurricanes and repaired several times throughout the 1800’s. The lens was removed by Confederates during the Civil War to frustrate the Union Navy efforts to blockade Tampa Bay but was restored after the war.
The Coast Guard continued to man the lighthouse until 1990, when it became one of the last lighthouses in the United States to be automated. In 2001 the Coast Guard announced plans to deactivate the light, but as of today has not done so. The lighthouse can be reached only by boat, with ferry service available from the Fort De Soto State Park. For more information, visit www.floridastateparks.org/park/Egmont-Key.
After a fun day visiting lighthouses, you may just want to put your feet up and relax. Well, good news! Wednesday, August 15 is National Relaxation Day. Who doesn’t love a day of relaxing? Relaxation is just as essential to a successful life as hard work, so it deserves a special day. Take a deep breath, slow down and take it easy. Spend the day relaxing and de-stressing. After all, it’s the last few weeks of these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Kick back and enjoy a cold beverage in your backyard, read a book in your hammock, sleep the whole day long, float in your pool or spend the day in your pajamas watching TV. Want even more relaxation? Call Daniella’s Mobile Massage at 323-4901. You wont even have to leave your house.
You say potAto, I say po-TOTto…but, regardless of how you say it, we can all agree to give a great, big hip-hiphooray for our beloved spuds! On Sunday, August 19 take a moment to reflect on these tasty taters on National Potato Day. The spectacular spud can be savored for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With the recent popularity of the Keto and Adkin diets, these terrific taters need at least one day of love.
Potatoes are one of the largest vegetable crops in the world. Did you know that more than 45 billion pounds of potatoes are harvested in the United States each year? Our starchy friend contains high levels of important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium and iron. Another fun fact: The world’s largest potato weighed in at 18lbs., 4 oz. according to the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s enough for 73 portions of medium fries at McDonalds. So, don’t be a ‘hesi-TATER’ and prepare your potato your favorite way and savor your spud!
The buzz on Monday, August 20 is in recognition of World Mosquito Day. We are all too familiar with those flying, biting, pesky creatures that invade our daily lives. At one time or another, we have all been bitten by the merciless mosquito. On this day in 1897, British doctor, Sir Ronald Ross, discovered the link between mosquitos and the transmission of malaria, an infectious disease caused by mosquitos. Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery.
The goal of this day is to raise awareness of causes of Malaria and to learn methods of prevention. Mosquitoes carry other diseases, including the dangerous Zika virus. If you want to fight the bite, consider donating to the Malaria No More campaign, which raises funds to provide mosquito netting and medical supplies to communities in need. Donations of any amount can save a child’s life by providing medical treatment or a mosquito net. To make a donation online, visit www.malarianomore.org.
Regardless of the meddling mosquitos, grab some repellant and head outside with your whole crew and enjoy National Eat Outside Day on Tuesday, August 31. Outdoor enthusiast can rejoice while relishing a meal underneath the sun, sky or stars. Al-fresco dining became popular in the 18th century when it became common to eat outside in tea gardens, seashore resorts and rooftop restaurants. The first sidewalk cafés appeared on the streets of Manhattan in the early 1900’s.
Our community is filled to the brim with restaurants with outside patios; the options to eat outside are practically endless. You may want to check out Circles Waterfront Restaurant in Apollo Beach, Jimmy Hula’s in Brandon, or visit Armature Works in Tampa for a variety of outside eating adventures.
August boasts many other fun holidays including, National Watermelon Day, National Underwear Day, Left-hander’s Day, Frankenstein Day and National Trail Mix day, just to name a few. For a complete list, visit www.holidayinsights.com.