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You have only eight days left if you haven’t prepared for the big day. How will you spend Aug. 20? Back yard cookout with family and friends? Family dinner? Attend a ball game or concert? Maybe go to a parade and/or fireworks display?

(Speaking of fireworks, when we attended the recent Italian Festival on Racine’s lakefront, we told some of the workers that we wanted to go home at 8 p.m. and would appreciate it if they would put on the fireworks show before we left. Didn’t happen.)

Anyway, if you plan to shop for Aug. 20, you have only this week to do that. Costumes? Balloons? Brats and burgers?

I speak, of course, about World Mosquito Day on Aug. 20, as if you didn’t know.

In Minnesota, I’ve been told, banks and most non-essential businesses will be closed, football practice will be prohibited, many community organizations will hold lutefisk dinners. You know, don’t you, that the word “Minnesota” is a combination of Chippewa and Sioux languages meaning “The Land of 10 Gazillion Mosquitoes”?

The mosquito is the unofficial state bird of Minnesota. Sure, Minnesota state maps and tourist publications say the loon is the official state bird. But loons are truly snow birds, spending winters on the Gulf of Mexico. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, hibernate in the winter and come out for spring training as soon as the first fishing shanty falls through the melting ice.

OK, I jest. If you want to observe World Mosquito Day, the only shopping you may have to do is for repellent. It’s a day to condemn, not honor, the nasty pest. As Mark Antony said, “I have come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

World Mosquito Day was established in 1897 when the link between mosquitoes and malaria was discovered by British doctor and eventual Nobel Prize for medicine winner Sir Ronald Ross. The aim was to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how to prevent it.

Today, mosquitoes also are blamed for the West Nile virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and dog heartworm.

So, I guess, the proper way to observe World Mosquito Day is to keep your yard mosquito free, go places that have been sprayed, cover your arms and legs if you are outside, swat with vengeance or stay indoors.

You say you may observe World Mosquito Day at the Mosquito Inn in Caledonia? I’ll drink to that.

Emmert Dose is a retired Journal Times reporter and editor. His column is published in the Sunday Family & Life section once a month. Write to him c/o The Journal Times, 212 Fourth St., Racine, WI 53403, or email him at emandcarol@csofwi.com.

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