A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 09, 2008
Leap Year Capital of the World (Anthony slogan)

Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico (the so-called “best little town in two states”) pronounced itself the “Leap Year Capital of the World” in February 1988. A Leap Year Birthday Club was formed, all the idea of Anthony resident Mary Ann Brown (who was born on February 29th).

“Leap Year Capital”—perhaps because it is a “world” capital and not a “Texas” capital—is not on the list of official capital designations pronounced by the Texas legislature.


Wikipedia: Leap year
A leap year (or intercalary year) is a year containing one or more extra days (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, an extra month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical or seasonal year. For example, in the Gregorian calendar, February would have 29 days in a leap year instead of the usual 28 - and consequently, the whole year would last 366 days instead of the common 365. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat at an exact number of full days, a calendar which had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting (or intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year which is not a leap year is called a common year.

Wikipedia: Anthony, Texas
Anthony is a town in El Paso County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,850 at the 2000 census.

Wikipedia: Anthony, New Mexico
Anthony is a census-designated place (CDP) in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, USA. The population was 7,904 at the 2000 census. It is located south of Las Cruces on the New Mexico-Texas state line in the Upper Mesilla Valley along Interstate 10.

timeanddate.com
Anthony – Leap Year Capital of the World
Where would be the ideal place to celebrate a leap year? Anthony, of course! The self-proclaimed “Leap Capital of the World”, which borders Texas and New Mexico in the United States, is hosting the sixth Worldwide Leap Year Festival from February 28 to March 2 2008.

A town that celebrates leap year
Every leap year the tiny town of Anthony, which has a population of about 4000 people, throws a birthday party for people born on February 29, also known as leap day. The event has grown since its inception in 1988, attracting people from within the United States and overseas. Attendees have been as young as babies celebrating their first birthday to people in their 90s celebrating another leap day birthday. In 1992 a man registered his 104-year-old mother, who was born on a leap day, to attend one of the festivals.
Chaired by the town’s mayor Art Franco, the celebration includes a parade, birthday dinner, hot air balloon lifts and other attractions. This event has become a source of pride for the town, marking it as the leap year capital on the global map.

History of the Leap Year Capital Concept
It all started about 20 years ago when local resident Mary Ann Brown, proposed that the Anthony Chamber of Commerce host a festival centered on leap day. Ms Brown and her neighbor Birdie Lewis, both born on a leap day, approached the Chamber of Commerce officials with the idea of a leap year festival and a leap year birthday club for those born on a leap day.
The main purposes behind the proposals were to provide the town with local recognition and to help raise funds for the community. In February 1988 the town’s Chamber of Commerce voted to sponsor Ms Brown’s idea of the festival. The governors of both New Mexico and Texas later declared Anthony the “Leap Year Capital of the World”.
Over the years, the event has attracted many people, including locals who come out to watch the parade and travelers from countries such as Germany and Switzerland. The town has come a long way since 1988 when only nine leap year birthday celebrants from neighboring towns in New Mexico and Texas attended the first festival.

The Worldwide Leap Year Birthday Club
Membership for the leap year birthday club has grown from zero in 1988 to more than 400 members in 2003. Members who have joined come from countries such as the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico and Norway.

Anthony TX/NM Leap Year Capital of the World
BIRTHDAY PARTY TIME IN THE Leap Year Capital of the World
Your Host, the Anthony Chamber of Commerce, assisted by local business and civic organizations will provide a variety of events, something for everyone!  Mr. Art Franco, the Mayor of Anthony, Texas, has volunteered to be Chairman for the 2008 celebration.

The fun will include a golf tournament followed that evening by registration and a ‘get acquainted session for Leapers’ from everywhere.

A trip to the nearby Sunland Park Casino will be available for all who choose to go.

Since this rare date comes but once every four years the press will likely be out bright and early on Friday, February 29th looking for a timely story to report (that is the way it usually happens). We will let you know where to ‘meet the press.’

Following breakfast, birthday folks can spend some time preparing signs boasting their age in Leap Years, to use in the parade. Since Leap Year Day falls on Friday this year the parade will be held after school, about 3:00 p.m.

We encourage all Leap Year babies and Leap Year anniversary couples to join the parade. A variety of vehicles will be provided for those who do not have their own or, if you prefer to walk the parade route is about a one and a half (1 1/2) mile trek.

The day will be completed with a birthday dinner, cake and entertainment. Exact schedule is still developing.

The weekend of March 1 and 2 will also be filled with fun events as part of the celebration. They will include Hot Air Balloon lift offs and rides, and a chuck wagon breakfast, followed by various events and activities at the park including games, a chile cook-off, and may a “juacha” tournament (similar to horseshoes), entertainment, and other competitions.

Twenty years ago (in February, 1988) the Chamber of Commerce in the little state line town of Anthony, New Mexico/Texas voted to sponsor the one and only WORLDWIDE LEAP YEAR FESTIVAL and WORLDWIDE LEAP YEAR BIRTHDAY CLUB and, thereby proclaim

ANTHONY Leap Year Capital of the World

With every Leap Year since we began in 1988 our event has grown. “Leapers” attend from every state in the union and have come from as far as Germany and Switzerland and from the utmost parts of the world.

We have enjoyed the presence of honorees from hour year olds celebrating their 1st birthday to a 92 year old celebrating his 23rd birthday. In 1992 a gentleman registered his 104 year old Mother, Luz Bejarano, who celebrated her 26th birthday that year.

Dallas (TX) Morning News
TEXAS TOWN HAS FEB. 29 ON ITS MIND
Anthony hopes to be Leap Year Capital
Author: Holden Lewis Associated Press The Dallas Morning News
Publish Date: February 11, 1988
EL PASO—Anthony has billed itself as the Best Little Town in Two States, and now the village straddling the Texas-New Mexico border is proclaiming itself the Leap Year Capital of the World.

“We just voted arbitrarily to name this as the leap year capital of the world because no one else has,’ said Mary Ann Brown, who will celebrate her 14th—actually, her 56th—birthday Feb. 29. Mrs. Brown and her neighbor across the street, Birdie Lewis, were born on leap…

Boston (MA) Globe
ASK THE GLOBE
Published on April 9, 1988
Q. My grandson was born on Feb. 29 and I would like to enroll him in a leap year club. Is there such a thing?—R.W., Brookline
A. There is. The chamber of commerce in Anthony, a town of 3,000 that straddles the Texas-New Mexico border, proclaimed itself “Leap Year Capital of the World” in February and has formed a worldwide leap year club. Its president, Mary Ann Brown, herself a “twenty-niner,” says the club has 27 members from as far away…

Dallas (TX) Morning News
Town wants jump on leap year designation
Author:  Associated Press
Publish Date: March 2, 1990
ANTHONY, N.M.—All it would take is a little congressional action, and all those folks who get a birthday only once every four years would have an official place to celebrate it. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who is not a leap year baby, acted Wednesday in Washington on the request of a constituent who is. He inserted into the Congressional Record a request to name Anthony, a farming community of a few thousand on the New Mexico-Texas border near El Paso, the Leap Year Capital of the World. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, April 09, 2008 • Permalink