Imagine organizing a major company meeting in Boston for March 17. The hotel contracts are signed, registration is complete, the catering and A/V are on order… and then, two weeks out, your CEO grabs you by the lapels and screams: "March 17?! What were you thinking? March 17 is Evacuation Day in Boston!" Boy are you in trouble. Well, to forestall such a scenario, here is a handy list of some of the lesser-known holidays for the coming year that might put a crimp in your centerpiece.
Monday, Jan. 13: Stephen Foster Memorial Day. Foster (1826-1864) is considered the first great American composer of popular songs (including "Oh! Susanna" "Camptown Races" and "Swannee River"). This is one of those commemorative days requiring a presidential proclamation, but as come January the U.S. government might well be on the verge of its quarterly collapse, the occasion could understandingly be overlooked. But just in case, prepare to open your event with a group rendition of "I Dream of Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair."
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Kansas Day. The Sunflower State celebrates its 153rd birthday this year, and while banks, schools and parking meters will be operating as usual, it wouldn't hurt you to send a card.
Monday, March 17: Evacuation Day. Celebrated in Boston and the surrounding Suffolk County, Mass., the holiday (a public one, and many local government offices might be closed) recalls when King George III's troops evacuated Beantown in 1776. A fun tie-in: Rouse your British attendees from their hotel rooms in the middle of the night.
Wednesday, March 26: Prince Johan Kuhio Kalanianaole Day. This is a state holiday in Hawaii, where the progressive prince had a lively political career in the late 19th-early 20th century. Various festivals, luaus, parades and canoe races mark the day, but you can keep your group busy simply by organizing a "Try to Pronounce His Name" team-building activity.
Wednesday, April 2: Pascua Florida Day. It's up to the state governor to officially declare this day, which next year will mark the 501st anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de León. The explorer named the land "Pascua Florida," Spanish for flowery festival or feast of flowers, a term often related to the Easter season. It's ironic, of course, that León was seeking the fabled Fountain of Youth in what would become the No. 2 state (after California) with Medicare beneficiaries.*
Thursday, May 1: Law Day. Considered an "observance" kind of day and not a federal public holiday, Law Day is set aside for citizens to appreciate their liberties and affirm their loyalty to the United States, which they might want to do conspicuously via smartphone or Twitter to keep on the good side of various federal authorities.
Thursday, Oct. 16: National Boss's Day. No, not a celebration of Bruce Springsteen, but rather your employer. This is one holiday you celebrate by actually trying to get some work done.
Monday, Dec. 1: Cyber Monday. Observed since 2005, this first Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend is meant to encourage online shopping to take advantage of all the deals and discounts offered in the wake of the holiday; traditionally followed by Maxed-Out Tuesday.
*Per the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Source: Meetings & Conventions