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Winnipeg's day has finally arrived

Reader ideas for a civic holiday to call our own

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I wish all those cynics who think Winnipeggers lack community spirit could see the flood of inspiring responses to our Make Up a Day and Win a Swell Prize contest.

This is the contest I launched Friday giving you, the readers, a chance to win a fabulous prize in exchange for suggesting a day on which Winnipeggers could pay homage to something special about their hometown.

I was inspired to hold this contest after becoming aware it is all but impossible to find a single (bad word) day on the calendar that has NOT been set aside to celebrate something completely and utterly inane.

For example, here are a few bizarre days you will think I am making up but that are, in fact, actual official days:

Jan. 20 -- Penguin Awareness Day

Jan. 21 -- Squirrel Appreciation Day

Mar. 9 -- National Napping Day

Aug. 11 -- Play in the Sand Day

Aug. 13 -- World Lizard Day

After pondering some of these lame dates -- today, July 31, happens to be National Mutt's Day -- I decided to challenge readers to come up with a day to pay tribute to something uniquely Winnipeg.

As always, I am proud to say you readers came through big time. After reviewing your entries, it is obvious many of you (a) have way too much time on your hands; and (b) have stopped taking your prescription medications.

Before we get to the big winners -- who get to select tickets for upcoming concerts -- here's a look at a few of the amazing Winnipeg-centric days enthusiastic readers proposed:

  • National Bacon Day -- "Not that you need an excuse to eat bacon, but in our household you do. My wife has deemed our house a No-Bacon zone, so we could sure use an excuse to have bacon in the house."
  • National Flatulence Day -- "One day a year when you don't have to blame the dog, the kids, or make up any other excuse. The motto could be Let-R-Rip!"
  • National Signal Light Day -- "One day when everyone has to use their signal light. We tried to think of a punishment if caught not using them... like having to listen to Justin Bieber music for the rest of the day."
  • National Timbit Day -- "Convince Tims to provide free Timbits to all for the day."
  • Mayor Appreciation Day -- "It would coincide with the next full moon, which is Aug. 21. Every Winnipegger would go about their business as normal but with flasks of holy water and strings of garlic around their neck."
  • The Right to Complain About Everything Day -- "Winnipeg's greatest claim to fame has to be the fact regardless of what event, building, movement or positive moment happening in our city, our population will always look for ways to rip it down and complain about it."
  • Flood Flinch Day -- "On this day, all government agencies would issue dire predictions the city will be swallowed by bajillions of gallons of floodwater and raise a tax; any tax will do."

Those were all great ideas, but here's our big winners, starting with third prize, sent in by Roy Ellis (former city entomologist, once affectionately known as the city's Bug Doctor), who proposed:

  • Winnipeg Start Daily Fogging Day -- "In answer to our annual plague of mosquitoes. Daily fogging would end after the first heavy snowfall."

In second place is a heart-tugging, misty-eyed entry from Kerri Anderson, who recently moved into a new home with her partner, prompting her to suggest:

  • Celebrate Your Neighbour Day -- "It's no secret when we moved into our Elmwood-area home, our much neglected yard created a huge eyesore. We were barely getting started on beautifying our new digs when a neighbour came over and introduced himself and just started helping out!

"My partner had a recent surgery and I am seven months' pregnant so his help was more than welcome... Now, two months later, our home is (bad word) magnificent and we have made a ton of new friends in our neighbours. We have the use of a lawn mower when we need it and fresh-baked cookies when I am peckish. God bless good neighbours!"

Which brings us somehow to our grand prize winner, Bob Beck, who gets first choice of the concert tickets for suggesting Winnipeggers pull out their shovels and make the best of a bad situation on:

  • National Pothole Day -- "Everyone could adopt a pothole for the day and either decorate it or fill it in. A contest could be held for best decorated."

Other readers had a similar notion, but Bob's entry arrived first and had the most detail. I realize some of you may not agree with these choices, so here's my suggestion... National Get Your Own (Bad Word) Column Day!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 31, 2013 A2

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