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Little-known holiday back for 10th year

By Michael Davis

Though you would be hard-pressed to find a card or gift basket to commemorate it, the 10th annual Parents' Day is Sunday.

"It's the first I've heard of it," said DeLaine Belle, who co-owns a flower and gift shop in Stockbridge when asked about the holiday. "And I'm a parent."

The fourth Sunday of July was declared Parents' Day in 1994 to celebrate parents' role in raising children, but thus far, has picked up little recognition, at least in Georgia.

"I just assumed Mother's Day and Father's Day took care of Parents' Day," Belle said.

Sharon Hall, who runs a Hallmark store in Stockbridge, said they have a calendar with all of the pertinent holidays listed ?like Mother's Day and Father's Day – but Parents' Day is not listed.

"I don't recall ever having seen one that says Parents' Day," said Hall, who has run the store for nine years and has two children of her own.

"I never realized there were so many holidays until I started working here," she said, adding she was surprised that some holidays ever catch on.

Asked if she would drop hints about the holiday to her own children, she said, "They need a Kids' Day – that's what I'm going to hear."

The National Parents' Day Council, an arm of the American Family Coalition, celebrates parents' Day. The council accepts nominations for Parents of the Year and recognizes the winners at a banquet in Washington, D.C.

This year, a couple from North Carolina was honored on July 20 as Parents of Excellence, said Tom Cutts, the coalition's representative in Georgia.

"We wanted to encourage looking at the role of parenthood as a way of strengthening the family," he said of the group's efforts.

A presidential proclamation kicked off Parents' Day in 1994. Texas declared the second Sunday of every August as Texas Parents' Day beginning in 2000. And last year, Michigan recognized Parents' Day on the last Sunday of July.

"We have some states that do big things with it," Cutts said. "Alaska, Arizona, Pennsylvania?they all have big celebrations. We just haven't gotten around to it yet," adding the Georgia chapter of the coalition is still in a formative stage.

Michelle Frey, the president of the McDonough MOMS Club, said she had not heard of Parents' Day either, but celebrates other holidays like Grandparents' Day.

"I don't think there are too many holidays," she said. "It's always fun to have something to celebrate and look forward to."

But celebrating Parents' Day might cause some problems for 68-year-old Edward Smith of Morrow and his wife, who have a 43-year-old daughter.

"When it's Father's Day I get to pick where we're going to eat and when it's Mother's Day, my wife gets to pick," he said.

"We have a problem (choosing a restaurant) sometimes whether it's Parents' Day or not."