Leap year babies get a party in ’04
December 31, 2003
By William Ferchland
Tribune staff writer
It’s been four years since Mark Baumann had his birthday. This year he’s celebrating it by buying himself a fishing boat.
Baumann’s birthday falls on Feb. 29, a day celebrated by a select few and that only comes once every four years. Included in a leap year, the extra day adds up the remainder of the Earth’s rotation around the sun at 365.3 days.
Baumann was born in 1964. He also was the 50th baby born at Barton Memorial Hospital. No other babies were born on that day of that year, Baumann said. Barton officials could not be reached to calculate how many babies have been delivered on past leap years.
During the years when Feb. 29 disappears from the Gregorian calendar, which is used worldwide, Baumann makes the proper adjustments.
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“I always celebrate it on (Feb. 28) and (March 1) to make sure I don’t miss it,” Baumann, a chef at Swiss Chalet, said. “This year I finally get one so that’s a good thing.”
On his birthday, a Sunday, Baumann will buy a fishing boat for himself but otherwise plans to keep it mellow. One leap year he was studying culinary arts in Switzerland. The lead chef also had a leap year birthday, the first person Baumann met who shared that uniqueness.
“We worked, then had a glass of wine and celebrated,” he said. “You just go with it.”
In his younger days friends teased him a bit and his parents said he wouldn’t get presents for another three years.
Baumann said a woman who works at the U.S. Forest Service also has a leap year birthday. Others outside the basin include actor Dennis Farina, rapper Ja Rule, astronomer Jack Lousma, actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and former NFL defensive end Bryce Paup.
The late Dinah Shore, punch card machine inventor Herman Hollerith and music prodigy Jimmy Dorsey round out the list.
The are special Internet cards to commemorate leap year birthdays and in some areas those with Feb. 29 birthdays gather for one mass celebration.
Anthony, a town of abut 4,000 on the New Mexico/Texas border, claims it is the “Leap Year Capital of the World.” It holds a four-day festival with wine tasting, hot air balloons, a parade and fireworks.
Baumann doesn’t plan to travel to Anthony but he does plan to have a good time on Feb. 29.
“Leap year is fun,” he said. “What do you do? It’s all good.”
– E-mail William Ferchland at email@example.com.