Category: February 08

  • NATIONAL IOWA DAY – February 8


    On February 8th, National Iowa Day recognizes The Hawkeye State.


    Located in the Midwestern region of the United States, Iowa is known for its rolling hills, cornfields, and small towns. While it may not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking about interesting or unusual facts, there are still plenty of cool things to know about Iowa.

    For starters, Iowa is home to the oldest city in the state, Dubuque. Dubuque was founded in 1788, making it the oldest city in Iowa and one of the oldest settlements in the entire Midwest. Dubuque is also home to the oldest standing church in Iowa, the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which was built in 1833.

    Another interesting fact about Iowa is that it has the highest per capita number of bowling alleys in the United States. There are over 400 bowling alleys in the state, which is a lot considering the population of Iowa is only around 3.2 million people. This makes Iowa the perfect destination for anyone looking to spend a day or evening knocking down some pins.

    In addition to its love of bowling, Iowa is also home to a number of unique festivals and events. One of the most well-known is the RAGBRAI, or the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. This event is a week-long bike ride that takes place in July and attracts thousands of participants from around the world. The route changes every year, but it always ends up in a different city in the state.

    Another quirky festival in Iowa is the National Hobo Convention, which takes place every year in the town of Britt. The convention is a celebration of the hobo lifestyle and attracts hobos and hobo enthusiasts from all over the country. It includes a hobo parade, a hobo queen coronation, and a hobo museum.


    • Visit Iowa!
    • Share your Iowa experiences.
    • Learn about Iowa history.
    • Explore the culture, festivals, parks, and more by reading 5 Best Reasons to Visit Iowa.
    • Taste Iowa’s favorite foods.
    • Use #NationalIowaDay to join the conversation.

    Iowa is also home to a number of strange and unusual attractions. One of these is the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, which is located in Walcott. The museum is dedicated to the history of trucking and features a collection of vintage trucks, as well as a variety of trucking memorabilia.

    Another unusual attraction in Iowa is the National Balloon Museum in Indianola. The museum is dedicated to the history of hot air balloons and features a collection of vintage balloons, as well as a variety of ballooning equipment. Visitors can also take a ride in a hot air balloon at the museum, which offers some of the best views in the state.

    In addition to its museums and festivals, Iowa is also home to a number of unique natural attractions. One of these is the Maquoketa Caves State Park, which is located in the eastern part of the state. The park is home to a number of underground caves that visitors can explore, as well as a number of hiking trails and picnic areas.

    Another natural attraction in Iowa is the Effigy Mounds National Monument, which is located in the northeastern part of the state. The monument is home to a number of ancient Native American earthworks in the shape of animals, including bears, birds, and deer. The site is also home to a number of hiking trails, making it a great destination for nature lovers.

    One more unusual fact about Iowa is that it is home to the world’s largest Strawberry Shortcake. The giant dessert was created in 2009 as part of the annual Strawberry Fest in the town of Strawberry Point. The shortcake was over 10 feet in diameter and featured over 5,000 servings of strawberries, cake, and cream. It was so big that it had to be sliced and served to the crowd in pieces.



    Observed annually on February 8th, National Kite Flying Day encourages exploring kite flying and making. Enthusiasts across the country mark the day by launching their kites or making plans to attend festivals.



    Kites date back to China in 470 B.C. China is full of lore and histories of the origins of the kite. Many are related to the way wind affects the leaves on the trees, the shelters they lived in, blowing away the sails on their ships, and the hats they wore upon their heads. The stories also tell of kites invented to spy on their enemies or to send messages.

    Evidence also shows the people of the South Sea Islands were using kites for fishing around the same time as the people of China.

    Early kites were constructed from bamboo or sturdy reeds for framing. Leaves, silk, or paper made ideal sails. Vines or braided fibers completed the line or tether. While people initially used kites as tools, they also used them for ceremonial reasons as well. Whether they sent messages into the heavens or to lift offerings up to the gods, kites had a symbolic place in the culture.

    Today kites are popular both as hobbies and for outdoor fun. They range from a simple diamond kite to more complicated box kites and giant sled kites. Stunt kites, also known as sport kites, are designed so the operator can maneuver the kite into dips, twists, and dives with dramatic effect.

    Tips for Getting Your Kite Up in the Air and Keeping it There
    • Be sure the kite is assembled correctly.
    • Check the wind.  Some kites require more wind and others less. Picking the right day for your kite is key.  A light breeze (5-20 mph) is generally optimal.
    • Be safe. Don’t fly a kite near power lines, trees, or other sky-high obstacles. Wide-open spaces are best.
    • Be safer. Don’t fly in the rain.
    • When launching the kite, be sure to have your back to the wind.  If the wind is light, have a friend hold the kite downwind and hold your line taught, reeling in slowly until the kite launches.
    • Don’t let the line out too quickly.  Let the line out at the same pace the kite is gaining altitude.


    • Fly a kite.
    • Make a kite.
    • Scout out kite festivals to attend in the months to come.
    • Host a kite flying lesson.
    • Learn about the science behind kite flying.
    • Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for kite projects.
    • Use #NationalKiteFlyingDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this high-flying holiday.

    Kite FAQ

    Q. What is the world’s largest kite?
    A. According to Guinness World Records, Abdulrahman Al Farsi and Faris Al Farsi flew the world’s largest kite on February 15, 2005. Measuring 25.475 meters (83 feet 7 inches) long and 40 meters (131 feet 3 inches) wide, the kite flew at the Kuwait Hala Festival in Kuwait City.

    Q. Is kite flying a sport?
    A. Flying kites is quite competitive. Kite design and the altitude a kite achieves are both measures for competition. Additionally, flying kites can be a physically demanding event.

    Q. What are the largest kite festivals?
    A. In North America, Washington State International Kite Festival hosts the largest gathering of kites each year.



    February 8th annually recognizes National Boys Scouts Day. Since 1910, boys across America have been doing good deeds, learning survival skills, and developing moral foundations through the Boy Scout of America. 


    The Boy Scouts of America has roots in the British Boy Scouts organization which was created in 1908 after the success of the book Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell.

    On a foggy day in London an American newspaperman, William Dickson Boyce, became lost when a Boy Scout came to his assistance. With the boy’s guidance, Boyce arrived at his destination. When Boyce offered payment for the assistance, the Boy Scout refused explaining it was a good deed.

    Boyce was inspired to organize similar youth groups into one organization. On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed papers of incorporation, and the Boy Scouts of America was born.

    Boy Scouts have had a profound impact on the United States.  Many presidents and other dignitaries have been Boy Scouts.  A total of 181 Astronauts have also been a part of the Boy Scout program.

    Boy Scouting Facts


    • Boy Scouts of America incorporated in 1910
    • First Boy Scout Handbook published in 1911
    • Boys’ Life premiered in 1911
    • First Eagle Scout, Arthur R. Eldred in 1912
    • Scouting magazine premiered in 1913
    • Registration of Scouts began, 25¢ annual fee was 1913
    • Order of the Arrow began in 1915
    • Federal charter granted by Congress in 1916
    • The first season at what would become Northern Tier High Adventure Base started in 1923
    • Boy Scout membership tops 1 million in 1925
    • Cub Scout program began in 1930
    • Philmont donated to the BSA in 1938
    • First BSA Wood Badge course taught in 1948
    • First Pinewood Derby® held in 1953
    • Webelos program added to Cub Scouting in 1954
    • Exploring program began in 1959
    • Florida National High Adventure Sea Base officially opened in 1980
    • Tiger Cubs program added to Cub Scouting in 1982
    • Alexander M Holsinger became the 1 millionth Eagle Scout in 1982
    • Learning for Life program began in 1991
    • Venturing program began in 1998
    • 100 millionth member registered in 2000
    • Anthony Thomas became the 2 millionth Eagle Scout in 2009


    • Celebrate the Boy Scouts!
    • Recall your time as a Boy Scout and share the lessons you learned.
    • Give a shout-out to a Boy Scout leader.
    • Share the skills you learned with others.
    • Volunteer to be a leader.
    • Learn more about the Boys Scouts organization.
    • Use #NationalBoyScoutsDay to join the conversation on social media.


    February 8th recognizes the anniversary of the date William Dickson Boyce filed the letters of incorporation. February is also Boy Scout Month.

    Boy Scouts FAQ

    Q. Who founded the Boys Scouts?
    A. Robert Baden-Powell started the scouting movement in 1857. The first Boy Scout organization in the United States was established on February 8, 1910.

    Q. How many ranks are in the Boy Scouts?
    A. The seven ranks in Boy Scouts are Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.

    Q. Are the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts the same thing?
    A. Cub Scouts is a division of Boy Scouts and is designed for younger children between kindergarten and fifth grade.

    February 8th Celebrated History


    The first opera is performed in the American Colonies. Presented by the English Ballad Opera Company, they performed Flora, or Hob in the Well. A courtroom above the Shepheard’s Tavern in Charleston, South Carolina hosted the production.


    In 1944, the American journalist Henry McAlpin became the first Black correspondent accredited to the White House.


    William D. Boyce incorporates Boy Scouts of America after meeting with Robert Baden-Powell.


    The Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver premieres starring Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, and Jodie Foster. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and two Golden Globes.

    February 8th Celebrated History

    Rebecca Lee Crumpler – 1831

    In 1864, she became the first African American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Dr. Crumpler opened her practice in Boston and published A Book of Medical Discourses.

    Jules Verne – 1828

    The French science fiction author wrote a series of popular adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in 80 Days.

    James Dean – 1931

    Best known for his role as Jim Stark in the film Rebel Without a Cause, actor James Dean also performed in several television shows before his tragic death.

    John Williams – 1932

    The American composer is considered cinema’s most distinguished and honored composers in film history. During his career, Williams has produced some of the most identifiable and critically acclaimed film scores ever written. His film scores include Star Wars, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and many, many more.

    Ted Koppel -1940

    The award-winning broadcast journalist served as the anchor for ABC’s Nightline for twenty-five years. During his nearly 60-year career, Koppel has covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the election of President Barack Obama.

    Mary Steenburgen – 1953

    The versatile, award-winning American actress is known for her roles in films including Book Club, Elf, and Parenthood.

    Honorable Mentions

    Kate Chopin – 1850
    Chester Floyd Carlson – 1906
    Betsy Jochum – 1921
    Gary Coleman – 1968