How to celebrate: visit Seattle. Wait, no…do not visit Seattle.
If you were thinking of visiting the ancestral homeland of Starbucks, grunge music, and Fremont Troll on September 16, you’re going to have to change your plans. That’s because that day is Stay Away From Seattle Day.
Believe it or don’t, this strange “holiday” is real, and actually celebrated by many residents in Seattle, America’s rainiest big city. Much like the citizens of its almost-as-rainy and insular rival city of Portland, Seattleites love sharing their city and economy with visitors…but they love them even more when they leave.
But the ironic part is that Stay Away From Seattle Day was created by somebody who didn’t live in Seattle, or had ever even visited the city. According to Seattle TV station King 5, the holiday was invented by Tom Roy, a comedian from Pennsylvania, who, as of 2011, has never visited Seattle. Roy was inspired by a Time Magazine story about the efforts of Seattle civic leaders to prevent overcrowding. His goal with the holiday was to poke fun at paranoid politicians, but the holiday has since caught on with plenty of frustrated Seattleites.
Keeping the tide of tourists and new residents at bay could be tough, especially considering that Washington recently legalized marijuana. Nevertheless, you may want to head elsewhere if you’ll be visiting the Evergreen State soon. Might we suggest swinging by Forks, Washington instead? This weekend they’re hosting an annual festival in honor of the birthday of Twilight’s Bella Swan. Similar to Tom Roy, Twilight author Stephanie Meyer had never visited Forks, Washington, when she chose to set her teen vampire novels there—she just liked that it was rainy.