Americans have never had trouble finding ways — or days — to celebrate.

Case in point, tomorrow, April 19 a.k.a. 4/19, is National North Dakota Day, National Amaretto Day, National Garlic Day, National Hanging Out Day, National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day, National Get to Know Your Customers Day, and National High Five Day.

But Thursday has also been set aside for those of us in the “419” area code to celebrate the communities where we live and work. Now, if that’s not reason for pause in Hancock County, what is?

To mark the occasion, a public gathering, hosted by the Findlay Publishing Co, the publisher of this newspaper, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts on West Main Cross Street.

Goodie bags with freebies from over 25 businesses in the 419 area code will be handed out, along with door prizes, free pizza and hot dogs, and T-shirts. There will be a kids’ coloring contest, and Scoop the Newshound will visit. The Big Kahuna of 106.3 The Fox will be broadcasting live.

419 Day isn’t just a Hancock County thing, though. The 419 area code is home to more than 314,000 people, and stretches from Toledo to Wapakoneta to Van Wert to Norwalk and encompasses 28 counties in all.

While this is the first organized 419 Day effort here, Toledo, Bowling Green, Fostoria, North Baltimore and other towns have held similar events and some will be participating again this year.

Besides promoting communities, marketing opportunities are created for businesses. About 80 businesses have partnered with the newspaper, including many retail stores and restaurants throughout Findlay. Some will be offering special pricing and discounts on products and services tomorrow.

Kari Zellner, manager of the Courier’s ad department, says she hopes 419 Day becomes an annual event in Hancock County, and perhaps the kickoff to the community’s big summer events.

Meanwhile, go ahead and salute North Dakota, eat garlic, give someone a high five, or just hang out Thursday. But also find a little time to explore and support businesses in your area code, too.

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