Archive

ShareThis Page
National Day Calendar lends legitimacy to pseudo-holidays | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

National Day Calendar lends legitimacy to pseudo-holidays

The Associated Press
NationalAnythingDayJPEG0ee0e
In this June 16, 2015 photo, Zoovio co-owner Marlo Anderson eats popcorn at his desk at his Mandan, N.D. business. Anderson says he started an online compendium of special days in 2013 called National Day Calendar after his love of popcorn piqued his curiosity about National Popcorn Day (Jan. 19). (AP Photo/Will Kincaid)

NEW YORK — To most Americans, July 4 is Independence Day. But on Marlo Anderson’s calendar, it’s also Caesar Salad Day and Barbecued Spareribs Day.

Anderson is the master­mind of the National Day Calendar, an online compendium of pseudo-holidays that has become a resource for TV and radio stations looking to add a little levity to their broadcasts, among others.

The 52-year-old co-owner of a VHS digitizing company in North Dakota started the calendar in 2013 and soon realized the site could be a way for people to declare their own special days. So last year, he started charging $1,500 to $4,000 for “national day” proclamations.

“People certainly don’t need to use us. It’s just we really give it a jump-start,” he said.

Marketing experts give Anderson credit for seizing on the desire by companies and groups for another way to promote themselves, though they question the effectiveness of some of the resulting campaigns. It’s not the only reason for celebration, but food seems to be a common subject for special days.

The National Day Calendar says it has given its blessing to more than 30 made-up holidays. A crouton maker paid for National Crouton Day (May 13), a seafood restaurant submitted National Fried Clam Day (July 3), and a craft beer maker came up with National Refreshment Day (fourth Thursday in July).

Anderson’s venture, which he says brings in roughly $50,000 a year, underscores the free-for-all nature of such days.

In 1870, Congress established the first four federal holidays with New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since then, only six annual federal holidays have been added, with the most recent being Martin Luther King Jr. day in 1983. But even the authority of those holidays is limited; although they are broadly observed, they’re technically legally applicable only to federal employees.

The National Day Calendar has emerged to bestow an air of authority on special days. For a price, the site mails official-looking proclamations that Anderson prints out and frames at Zoovio, his VHS digitizing business.

Boston Market’s chief brand officer, Sara Bittorf, said the idea for National Rotisserie Chicken Day (June 2) came from the chain’s ad agency, but noted the day was one of few approved by the National Day Calendar’s selection committee.

Because the National Day Calendar doesn’t have its own staff, that selection committee is made up of four Zoovio employees.

Amy LaVallie, a committee member, said the general rule is to pick days with broad appeal. It’s why National Sean Connery Day was rejected, she said, but Boston Market’s submission passed muster.

“National Rotisserie Chicken Day, OK? People like chicken. Simple as that,” LaVallie said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.