I was wandering about downtown Saint Louis on Saturday, when I stumbled upon this sight. It is a cake factory. In particular it is a birthday cake factory. These cakes may look tasty, but here looks are deceiving. Made from fiberglass and then painted these cakes are way too high in fiber. Years ago Chicago pioneered this phenomenon with its Cow Parade. It made quite a splash, what with brightly painted cows dotting the streets of the Windy City. Since then everybody and their brother have copycatted this art form. Saint Louis has done it several times, the last one for some reason involved butterflies. This time Saint Louis has a good reason for doing these cakes.
Next month Saint Louis will celebrate its 250th anniversary. 250 years ago next month, Pierre Laclede stumble ashore and planted the French flag on the west bank of the Mississippi River and Saint Louis was founded. No records of what the former tenants thought of this deed remain. In fact, it is not even certain on which day this event occurred. Fifty years ago LBJ and the French ambassador celebrated the city’s bicentennial on Valentine’s Day. Current thought pushes it back a day or two (the 15th or 16th), but no one really knows.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
baked a cake, baked a cake
These cakes were being baked by CEL, the Creative Exchange Lab, a center for architecture and design in Saint Louis. I just happened upon their cake shop. I’m guessing that all these cakes will start appearing around town pretty soon. All of these festivities beg the question, what do you call a 250th anniversary? Since our nation has had its 200th anniversary, we are all down now with the term bicentennial. Like before Saint Louis is leading the way for the nation. Here are a few different choices to pick from:
Quarter Millennial is by far the most user friendly term and probably the most easily understood given that both words are in common usage in English. The term literally means one quarter of 1000 years.
Bicenquinquagenary is much more complicated. The “bicen” part of the word means 200 years, while quinquagenary is translated as 50 years.
Sestercentennial is another Latin way of expressing a 250th. In Latin, the prefix “sester” denotes the halfway point between the numerals two and three. Centennial denotes a 100th anniversary.
Semiquincentennial is yet another Latin term for a 250th anniversary. Semi translates into “half,” while “quin” denotes five and centennial 100th.
Whatever you call it, it should be fun. It is a party after all, a year long party. It started on First Night and the celebrating will continue for all of 2014. Have a Happy Birth Year Saint Louis!