/ The Seattle Traveler
Seattle — By Mary Jo Manzanares on June 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Filed under: family, father's day, featuredarticle, holiday, Spokane

Father’s Day Originated in Spokane

June 20th, Father’s Day 2010, will be the 100th anniversary of the holiday, and it all goes back to a woman from Spokane, Sonora Smart Dodd, affectionately called the Mother of Father’s Day.

father walking with children Sonora was 16 years old when her mother died, leaving her father to  work the family farm and raise Sonora and her five younger brothers.  Several years later, Sonora heard a Mother’s Day sermon at her church (Central United Methodist Church in Spokane).  Her life experiences made her realize how valuable her father had been to the health and happiness of her family, and she proposed that there should be a Father’s Day as well.

In 1910, with the assistance of the pastor of her church, she took the idea to the Spokane Ministerial Alliance, proposing that her father’s birthday be established as a holiday to honor all dads.  Practical considerations came into play, and it was eventually decided that June 19th, 2010 would be designated as Father’s Day with churches around the area offering sermons to honor fathers.

The idea took off — at least in Spokane.  But it was years before the holiday gained any national prominence.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father’s Day and urged all the states to do the same.  Then, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signing a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day.  Finally, in 1972, 62 years after it was first observed in Spokane, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation that permanently established the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

What started in Spokane, gradually spreading out across the United States, is now celebrated in over 50 countries around the world.  And in all traces back to Spokane and Sonora Smart Dodd.

Spokane celebrates the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day with special events including:

  • Graveside Memorial Service:  Services will honor Sonora Smart Dodd will be held on Father’s Day at the Greenwood/Riverside Memorial Park, 211 North Government Way, Spokane (map), 2 pm.
  • Father’s Day Whitewater Rafting:  Spend family time on the Spokane River (map) or the Clark Fork River, floating through beautiful scenery and bonding through the rapids.  Both trips start at 10:30, the Spokane River float lasts 2 hours and the Clark Fork River float lasts 5 hours.  Special pricing for Father’s Day of $49 (Spokane) and $69 (Clark Fork).  Call for details:  (877) 239-2392
  • Father’s Day BBQ & Blue Celebration:  The whole family will enjoy an afternoon of traditional barbecue and blues at the Spokane Airport Ramada Inn, 8909 Airport Drive (map).  Admission fee of $16.95 covers food and entertainment; discounts for kids and seniors.  1-6 pm.  Reservations by phone:  (509) 838-5211.
  • Spokane Symphony Best Fest:  The last of three summer festival concerts, this one is a Patriotic Salute to Father’s Day.  The concert starts at 4 pm, with ice cream and hot dogs offered before the performance (starting at 2 pm).  Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 West Sprague Avenue (map).  Tickets $21-44, available online.

Photo credit: SXC

Related places:
  1. A
    Fairmount Memorial Park: Greenwood Riverside Cemeteries
    Spokane, Washington, undefined
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    Little Spokane River Park
    View Details and Book
  3. C
    Ramada Inn Spokane Airport
    8909 West Airport Drive, Spokane, Washington
    View Details and Book
  4. D
    Martin Woldson Theatre At The Fox
    1001 W. Sprague Avenue, Spokane, Washington, 99210, United States of America
    View Details and Book
Tags: family, father's day, featuredarticle, holiday, Spokane

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