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Spruce up a dull summer with offbeat holidays

If the hot, muggy summer weather has you in a noncelebrating frame of mind, take heart. There are lots of excuses for celebrating between now and Labor Day. "Chase's Calendar of Annual Events" (Flint, Mich.: Apple Tree Press, $12. 95) is a gold mine for those seeking offbeat holidays.

It's possible to find all sorts of reasons for celebrating right at home. National Barbecue Month (May), International Picnic Day (June 18), and National Ice Cream Day (July 15) have come and gone, but there's still International Banana Day (Aug. 12) to look forward to. A big festival -- a "salute to the golden fruit" -- is held in Fulton, Ky., Aug. 12-15 and features a one-ton banana pudding on parade. Depending on the number of guest, home delebrations could include a banana recipe of somewhat more modest proportions.

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Film buffs might want to celebrate Alfred Hitchcock's birthday (Aug. 13). Lawyers might ovserve the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the American Bar Association (Aug. 21). Freedom of Enterprise Week (Aug. 23-29) affords an opportunity to "focus attention upon the contributions made to our way of life by the free-enterprises system." And feminists won't want to let Susan B. Anthony's birth date (aug 26,) pass by unobserved, since it also the 61st anniversary of the day the right for women to vote became a part of the US Constitution.

Travelers in Illinois may have caught an intriguing event -- the International Turtle Creepstakes (Aug. 2). New Jersey was the scene of the Munchkins of Oz Convention (Aug. 8). South Dakota played host to the North American Buffalo Chip Flip Finals (Aug. 6-9). Northfield, Minn., annual observes the Defeat of Jesse James Days (Sept. 3-6).

Labor Day (Sept. 7) is a legal holiday throughout America, and also the tradional last day of summer. But offbeat excuses for celebration continue after summer is over. The US Television Commercial Festival (Nov. 20) is positive proof that some people will use anything as an excuse to celebrate. Including National Excuse s Week (Jan. 5-10).

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