This Under-the-Radar U.S. Town Is Known as the ‘Leap Year Capital of the World’

Written by Priyanka Paul
Updated: February 25, 2024
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Leap Years bring a delightful aspect to the calendar- the addition of an extra day! Occurring every four years, this quadrennial exercise helps our calendars stay in sync with astronomical events. While the leap year has always been associated with some rather weird and wonderful traditions, who would have thought that there is a little-known US town that even actively celebrates it? Known as the ‘Leap Year Capital of the World’, a small town called Anthony in Texas hosts four day-long festivities to ring in the Leap Year every four years. Held in late February or early March, these celebrations are legendary with food, music, and lots of festive revelry. So, how did this leap year festival start? Let’s find out.

The Leap Year Festival: How it Started

In 1988, Mary Ann Brown, a resident of Anthony, Texas, and her neighbor Birdie Lewis, who shared the uncommon distinction of being born on a leap day, collaboratively conceived the idea of starting a Leap Year Festival. Their intention was to honor and celebrate individuals born on February 29th. Taking their proposal to the Chamber of Commerce, they suggested the creation of both a leap-year festival and a leap-year birthday club. The Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically endorsed and sponsored the festival. Since the event was the first of its kind, the governors of both New Mexico and Texas issued proclamations naming the town of Anthony, the ‘leap year capital of the world’ soon after.

They hosted the first leap year festival with just a month’s preparation. The festival drew the attendance of nine leap-year babies. However, by 2008, the festival began gaining traction, and over 100 leap-year babies attended, including parade marshal Josephine Concho Abeita, who celebrated her 25th leap-year birthday that year.

Where is the City of Anthony Located?

The city of Anthony sits on the Texas-New Mexico border. Located in both El Paso County, Texas, and Doña Ana County, New Mexico, the town of Anthony forms a unified community with Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico. The state line runs through the center of the town. Formerly known as”La Tuna”, the city was reportedly given its present name by a Mexican-American woman who had a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua on the New Mexico side. The small city only had a population of 7,904 at the 2000 census. More recently, at the 2010 census, however, its population had jumped up to 9,360. The area is primarily known for its farms where crops like alfalfa, cotton, and pecan are grown.

When and Where is the Leap Year Festival Going to be Held This Year? 

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This year, the Leap Year Festival in the city of Anthony will run from February 29th to March 2nd, 2024. The festival will kick off with an exclusive birthday bash for all the February 29th birthday babies at the Rolling Smoke Barbeque located at 200 S Main St. Fruda. Festivities will then continue on March 1st and 2nd at the Anthony Municipal Park. The headlining acts for this year’s festival include Sonora Skandalo and La Original Sonora y Explosiva Dinamita. In addition to this, the festival also promises a fun zone for kids, an abundance of local eats, and unique craft vendors. Leap Day babies from all over the world are actively urged to come and celebrate in the region.

Famous People Born On Leap Day

  1. Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) – American rapper and actor (born on February 29, 1976)
  2. Superman -Action comic character
  3. Dinah Shore- American singer and television personality (born on February 29, 1916)
  4. Jack Lousma-Aeronautical engineer and former NASA astronaut (born on February 29, 1936)
  5. Rep. Bart Stupak-Democratic Congressman (born on February 29, 1952)
  6. Cullen Jones- American swimmer (born on February 29, 1984)
  7. Mark Foster- Lead singer of the band ‘Foster the People’ (born on February 29, 1984)
  8. Tony Robbins- Motivational speaker and life coach (born on February 29, 1960)
  9. Pedro Sánchez- Prime Minister of Spain (born on February 29, 1972)
  10. Michèle Morgan- French film actress (born on February 29, 1920)

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ground Picture/

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About the Author

Priyanka Paul is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on plants, geography, and insects. Priyanka has been working as a writer for over 5 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. A resident of Buffalo, New York, Priyanka enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending time observing nature’s little creatures.

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