Happy 219 Day to all my fellow Region Rats! To those still here, dodging potholes that can swallow the Crown Point Court House and the blooms of bright orange cones and barrels that never really go away after Construction Season is over (unless someone takes one out), clogging your arteries with some of the best greasy spoon foods ever, and raising a toast with a glass or growler from your favorite local brewery, I hope you’ve enjoyed this beautiful rainy February Day. If you’ve moved away, I hope you can get some semi palatable pierogi and maybe some 3Floyds.
What’s 219 Day? Well, it’s the day we celebrate our beloved area code. Yeah. Really.
It started back in 2015 on Twitter.
The next year Hammond’s Mayor McDermott decreed it and hosted a party. He even released city workers at 2:19 pm in a classic “early release” that many of us experienced in school. In true Region fashion, the weather was more of a spring storm than a winter blizzard. It made national news.
Bishop Hying even issued a dispensation so Catholics could break their Lenten abstaining from meat on that Friday so they could partake in the cholesterol raising fare. (But you needed to do another penance.)
It’s stuck and the party happens on or near 2/19.
In case you missed it, here is this year’s 219 Day Decree
Enjoy your special day fellow Region Rats! pic.twitter.com/E9xOHgB6Ap
— Thomas McDermott (@tommcdermottjr) February 19, 2018
Pretty much everyone in the United States knows where the 219 is, even if they don’t realize it.
Two words: Gary, Indiana.
See? Where ever you are in the USA you probably have a good idea of where the 219 is.
“But, why,” you ask, “would anyone want to celebrate that?”
Because we’re awesome.
Here’s just a few reasons why:
Pierogi. Tacos. Gyros. KofC Fish Fries. All 4 Seasons, sometimes in the same day. The Lake. The Dunes, both State and National. Corn Fields. Craft Beers. (Some world ranked!) Trains. The Jackson 5 (all the Jacksons). Being close to Chicago but not Chicago. Chicago Dogs. Being close enough for a day trip to Indy. Being Hoosiers and all that goes with it, but being forgotten about by the rest of the state. Lake Effect. Being told we have “accents”. The Highways and Backroads. South Shore RailCats. South Shore Train. The Lake County Fair. John Dillinger Museum (oh and Johnny Depp was like 3 blocks from my grandma’s house). A Christmas Story. Prancer. Candy Cane Lane. Mike Rowe visited and highlighted Operation Combat Bikesaver. The potholes. The traffic patterns. The construction. Tractors. The parks. Schoop’s. Zel’s. Portillo’s. Lemon Rice Soup. Green River (and I don’t mean the Little Cal) The Mills. The Refineries. That there are as many bars as churches in any given area. Being able to get WGN and South Bend stations. Having 2 PBS stations. XRock. 105.5. @RegionRatRants The history. The Cultural Melting Pot that is the 219. The amazing people of Da Region. The Diocese of Gary.
But most of all because this whole undefinable, wonderful, messy area is home.
Here’s some other fantastic things about living in the Da Region.
And a little history.