DYK World Poetry DayIn 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a resolution declaring March 21 as World Poetry Day.

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings  Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

The day was proclaimed by UNESCO to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. World Poetry Day precedes the U.S. National Poetry Month in April.

Austrian coffee company Julius Meinl allows its customers on World Poetry Day to pay for their coffee with a poem. Last year, coffee drinkers from 1,153 coffee houses in 27 countries paid for their coffee with a poem.

One of Illinois’ most famous poets was Carl Sandburg, who was born in Galesburg in 1878. He wrote poems about the state of Illinois and Chicago. He also wrote biographies about Abraham Lincoln and his family.

For more information:

UNESCO World Poetry Day: http://www.un.org/en/events/poetryday/index.shtml

Illinois Poet Laureate: http://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/Pages/default.aspx

WilliamBushnellStoutWilliam Bushnell Stout was born on March 16, 1880 in Quincy, Illinois.  Stout designed and built his first model airplane out of cardboard and rubber bands when he was 14 and kept designing and building thereafter.

Stout’s innovative designs led him to a number of engineering positions at several American automobile companies. His most noticeable invention was a monoplane, the first successful airplane design devoid of exterior struts, wires and other wind obstructions. His company, the Stout Metal Airplane Company, was bought by the Ford Motor Company in 1924.

In 1934, he founded the Stout Motor Car Company, which featured a “beetle-like” Scarab with an all-aluminum tubular airframe covered with aluminum skin, with the engine in the rear, glove compartment and reclining aircraft-type seats.

Did You Know? The first Dairy Queen was located in IllinoisDairy Queen is offering free vanilla ice cream cones today, March 15, in celebration of its anniversary.

The first Dairy Queen opened in June 1940 in downtown Joliet at 501 North Chicago Street. While the structure no longer houses a Dairy Queen, the building made headlines in 2010 when it received landmark status for being home to the first official Dairy Queen.

Illinois also played a role in developing Dairy Queen’s trademark soft-serve ice cream. John Fremont and Bradley McCullough, Kankakee natives, developed the formula in 1938 and franchised it until the first location opened in 1940.

Dairy Queen has expanded to include more than 6,000 stores worldwide, many of them located in the United States.

Learn more:
World’s First Dairy Queen Gets Landmark Status (CBS Chicago)

AgWeekDYKToday is the second day of National Ag Week, with tomorrow being National Ag Day. Throughout the country, many events will be taking place to honor the hard work that farmers across the country put in to feed the country and the world.

Illinois is a national leader in agriculture. With nearly 75,000 farms across the state, agriculture covers about 27 million acres in Illinois. The state produces multiple different products including corn, soybeans, winter wheat and livestock.

Illinois not only feeds the country, but also the world. It is third nationally in exporting agricultural commodities. On an annual basis, the state ships over $8 billion worth of goods to other countries. The state accounts for six percent of all U.S. agricultural exports.

Illinois also is a top manufacturer of agricultural products. It ranks number one nationally with nearly $200 billion in processed food sales. The whole state comes together in creating a top-of-the-line agricultural production from the fields to the factories.

For more information:

About Ag Week/Day: http://www.agday.org/

Illinois Agriculture: https://www.agr.state.il.us/facts-about-illinois-agriculture/

mariatallchiefMaria Tallchief, born in Oklahoma in 1925, became one of the country's leading ballerinas prior to founding and serving as the art director of the Chicago City Ballet.

Tallchief danced across the world with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Throughout her career, she broke many records by becoming the New York City Ballet's first prima ballerina and the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet in 1947.

She served as a muse for George Balanchine, one of the greatest ballet choreographers, and pioneered the balletic Americana style of dance with her role in “Rodeo”. She popularized the art form with dazzling, technically precise performances of “Firebird”, “The Nutcracker” and “Orpheus”.

By 1974, Tallchief created the Chicago City Ballet and taught rising stars the works of Balanchine until 1987.

Learn more about Maria Tallchief’s contributions to dance in the 2005 documentary Ballet Russes.