By Marci Narum
For Marlo Anderson, curiosity has been much kinder. Five years ago the Mandan man wanted to learn more about National Popcorn Day.
“I’m a popcorn nut and I had heard it was National Popcorn Day so I went online. I wanted to know how the day came to be; I wanted to know the history of it.”
Marlo is a self-proclaimed technology nut too, so his curiosity led him to a new hobby. He launched the National Day Calendar website—on National Popcorn Day, January 19, 2013. It’s an online community where followers can learn about days that have special meaning and cause for celebration, whether random or intentional.
“Six months later we had 20,000 people coming to the website and clamoring for the information,” Marlo explains. “It was mostly media. I would stay up two or three hours every night researching and writing, and getting the posts ready for the next day.”
Marlo’s curiosity paid off. A little more than four years after launching his website, millions of people around the world are curious about the National Day Calendar.
“We are the number one thing trending on social media. There isn’t anyone even close anymore. Last year along we trended over 300 times on Twitter.”
National Day Calendar was named startup of the year in January. It has its own popcorn sponsor, Colorado Jack Popcorn, and a Hollywood agent—C3 Entertainment, founded by The Three Stooges—to handle licensing and distribution of the printed version of National Day Calendars in the future. You can also purchase “Celebrate Every Day” tee-shirts and hoodies online and Marlo recently added “Celebrate Every Day” stickers.
“You just fill in the blank. I was curious if people would actually respond to this idea. Everywhere I go people are pointing at the sticker on my shirt and saying, ‘It’s Tortilla Chip day!’ The day before it was Margarita Day and people were high-fiving me and everything else,” Marlo laughs. “From a sticker?”
National media outlets contact and interview Marlo regularly, including the NBC Today Show, Fox and Friends, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen DeGeneres. But he is extremely humble in the midst of all the attention and success of the National Day Calendar.
“I had a hard time with this right away, with all the attention around this. I thought it was extremely trivial. With all the things going on in our world, why would this be what it is?”
He says handwritten letters started arriving shortly before he made the decision to take National Day Calendar from a hobby to a business. Those letters changed his perspective.
“A couple wrote to us about their daughter who passed away. She was 12 and she followed us. Now they celebrate every day because of their daughter.
“A mother whose adult son has Down syndrome wrote us a letter. He attends an adult learning center in Virginia and the teacher has adopted National Day Calendar into their daily lives. The mom told us that we probably are not even aware of the impact we’ve had on them.
“I think people look for ways to celebrate and maybe even moreso now than ever before. We all live on Facebook and Twitter and everything else, on our devices. People don’t get together like they used to. I think this actually brings that back a little bit. Most of the time when people are talking about this they’re talking about how they got together with their friends and family to go out for pizza. It’s almost like an excuse to go out and celebrate.”
Curious about what you can celebrate today? Visit nationaldaycalendar.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, and Reddit.
Curiosity killed the cat. It’s too bad the cat didn’t know Marlo Anderson.
Marlo says National Day gets about 20,000 applications for new national day proclamations each year. Of those, a committee selects 30. The newest addition to National Day is the opportunity to vote for “Official Destination.”