By Claudine Zap
Fire up the grill and dust off the "World's Best Dad" mug: Father's Day is Sunday, June 19. Here, five fun facts about the day.
1. The first Father's Day: A sad event spurred the very first day to celebrate fatherhood. Residents in Fairmont, West Virginia first honored dads on July 5, 1908. The reason: 210 family men had been lost in the Monongah mining disaster.
But the holiday really didn't catch on until a booster got Father's Day fever: One Sonora Smart Dodd, from Spokane, Washington, who celebrated her dad in 1910. She believed that her father, a Civil War vet who had raised her and her siblings since his wife had died in childbirth with their sixth child, deserved a day as much as any mother.
2. Presidential proclamation: The bill to officially recognize the third Sunday in June was signed into law in 1972, by President Richard Nixon, father of Tricia and Julie. Why the long wait from the initial commemoration? Congress apparently resisted efforts to recognize Father's Day for fear the holiday would be commercialized, instead of simply recognizing the importance of parenting.
3. First Father's Day gift purchased: OK, maybe not the first, but the man-centric day quickly became a darling of retailers as a shopping day. Hey, it's the American way. But commercialization started long before the day was an official holiday. In the 1930s, retailers formed a Father's Day committee to encourage sales of gifts for dads.
4. Top Yahoo! searches: Dads, prepare to eat on Sunday. Because lookups on "father's day food" are topping searches for the holiday on the Web. Other cooking categories searches include "fathers day brunch," "fathers day cookies," and "fathers day desserts."
5. What Dad really wants. We're sure all he'd want is your warm wishes. But the holiday sure racks up big bucks for businesses: A study from 2008 puts sales at a whopping $11 billion for those gifts for dad. Web searches certainly show a desire to shop: Popular lookups include "fathers day deals," "fathers day coupons," "fathers day gadgets," and "fathers day picture frames." But equally popular are searches for "father's day crafts," "father's day poems," and "happy fathers day cards" -- and they would probably be equally appreciated.