Cool ideas for a hot August night
What’s cool about August? It’s definitely not the weather that’s for sure. Maybe that’s why historically there have been plenty of notable events that had to do with water. For example, on August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain while in 1852, on that same date Harvard University beat Yale in the first American intercollegiate athletic event—a boat race. It was also the date in 1958 when the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus traveled under the Arctic ice cap. This all sounds very cool right about now.
A couple of days later, different year on August 5, 1620 the Mayflower departed from Southampton, England and headed towards North America. Also on that date in 1926 Henry Houdini spent 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping. Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel on August 6, 1926 and sixty years later a record 13 inches of rain fell on Sydney, Australia.
August was definitely a favorite for explorers. Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Seville, Spain to circumnavigate the globe on August 10, 1519 while on August 28, 1609 Henry Hudson discovered the Delaware Bay. Speaking of the name Hudson, Robert Fulton inaugurated the first ever commercial steamboat service on the Hudson River, on August 17, 1807. The America’s Cup was won by the yacht named “America” in 1851 on August 22 and in 2008 American swimmer, Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals in the same Olympic Games, August 17, 2008.
August is also the month for some pretty “cool” non-water moments in history. No list would be complete without the mention of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair which celebrates its 50th anniversary on August 15. Held in upstate New York, a record 500,000 people attended. Tickets for the three-day event were $18 in advance and $24 at the gate. While I don’t think this is as significant as Woodstock, the first modern-themed amusement park, Santa Claus Land, opened in Santa Claus, Indiana on August 3, 1946.
Even though we have no control over the temperatures during the last full month of summer heat, you can cool off on August 14 with National Creamsicle Day and take it easy the next day during National Relaxation Day. If all else fails, there’s still hope. August is National Water Quality month! So kick back, relax, enjoy some ice cream and remember to drink plenty of water. Like the well-known milk commercial—it does a body good! Stay cool everyone!
Originally published, Orange County Register, August 8, 2019