CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S almost September 16 already? Oh, that’s right, you don’t know about Stay Away from Seattle Day. Why would you? It’s doubtful anyone’s observed the holiday besides its creator. After the late Seattle Times columnist Emmett Watson waged a not-so-tongue-in-cheek war on transplanted Californians and drew national attention in the late ’80s, Tom Roy did what Tom Roy does: He invented a holiday.

The Pennsylvanian with two first names has a thing for dreaming up celebrations and submitting them to Chase’s Calendar of Events, which accepts just about any special occasion but your birthday. (Ever heard of International Town Criers Day?) So in 1991, he joined Watson’s cause by proclaiming September 16 Stay Away from Seattle Day. By all accounts, no one stayed away from Seattle—in September or any other month. Between the time the holiday was created and the end of 2007, the volume of annual tourists in Seattle rose from 6 million to more than 9 million, a 58 percent growth.

Still, the Sonics’ decision to skip town—not to mention rising gas prices likely to shrink our tourism numbers—has us nervous. So we’re reclaiming September 16 as Give Seattle a Shot Day, and Roy’s on our team: “It’s too late for 2009, because [Chase] already went to press, but next time, I would absolutely submit that.” We hear the NBA’s Kings might be looking to leave Sacramento.

California, give us a call?

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