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A date to remember: 12-12-12

DeKALB – Riley Marks’ 12th birthday seemed as if it would never come.

But now that it is here, Krista Marks, his mother, said it would be bittersweet to see a day she has had marked on her calendar since he was born come and go. Riley’s birthday falls on the final of only 12 dates each century that feature the same number as the month, day and year.

“Now that he is actually turning 12 and is taller than I am ... it just came awfully fast,” Krista Marks said. “It’s a little bittersweet as he gets older, but we’ll just enjoy celebrating the day. There’s been an awful lot of build up.”

Riley, who recently met a fellow student at Huntley Middle School who turned 11 on Nov. 11 of last year, said he has been looking forward to his golden birthday for a few years. It also will provide a break in the normal routine as he eagerly waits for school to break for Christmas.

“Mostly, it’s just cool to say I turned 12 on 12-12-12,” he said. “But it’ll probably help me get through the week. School should go by real fast.”

Along with golden birthdays, the repeating-number dates have been a hit for weddings. National estimates show there could be more than 7,500 weddings today – an increase of more than 1,000 percent compared to the same day in 2011.

The increase was seen at the DeKalb County Courthouse, where there is a full slate of marriages scheduled today, but for local wedding hot spots such as Sycamore’s Chapel in the Pines, it is just another Wednesday.

Jeff Petersen, general manager at Chapel in the Pines, said ever since July, 7, 2007, repeating-number dates have been a huge success, including Nov. 11 of last year. The difference, he said, was all those dates fell between Friday and Sunday.

“Wednesday has never been a popular day,” he said.

Businesses are also taking advantage of the rare date. Locally, Illinois Community Credit Union is offering $1,200 loans with a 12-month repayment period at 12 percent APR. In Wisconsin, the state legislature declared the day Aaron Rodgers Day in honor of the No. 12 he wears for the Green Bay Packers and malls have already planned $12 discounts for his merchandise.

The day might be most meaningful to math whiz Chris Roeder, a sixth-grader at Sycamore Middle School who also is turning 12 years old today. Chris, whose favorite subject is math, said 12 has always been his favorite number because of the one, two sequence that starts the numerical table and it is double digits.

While he was unable to successfully formulate the probability of someone having a birthday on 12-12-12, he still planned on staying up until midnight Tuesday to be awake for the moment all the 12s align.

“Birthdays are my favorite thing of the year,” he said.

Vanessa Roeder, his mother, said she was aware of the unusual occurrence soon after his birth and was amazed when it almost happened again. Her daughter was due on 01-02-03. Instead, she was born Dec. 22, a date that holds numerical significance this year as it is one day after the Mayan calendar ends – which some hypothesize to be the end of the world.

“Everything seems to tie into numbers around here,” Vanessa Roeder said with a laugh.

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