It will undoubtedly be a beautiful day in the neighborhood tomorrow, as WQED holds its third annual Cardigan Day.
But the homage to Fred Rogers, who donned his trademark cardigan on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” is not the only thing to get excited about Friday. It’s also World Kindness Day and the birthday of King Friday XIII, the ruler of Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Kindness and compassion were chief among the lessons Rogers taught on his long-running show, said Brianne Mitchell, WQED education, communications and social media associate.
“I think people inherently want to be kind and they want to do nice things, for themselves and for others. I think this is a really great platform backed by a really great message: giving people permission to be kind … and to be good neighbors and to be good friends,” she said.
Last year’s Cardigan Day celebration took social media by storm, trending as number one with millions of photos posted with the hashtag: #cardiganday.
The success of last year’s Cardigan Day was inspiring, Mitchell said.
“It was really incredible to see everyone put on their red cardigans and say, ‘I’m going to be kind’.”
Spearheaded by Dave Hallewell, WQED’s senior producer, promotions and social media manager, Cardigan Day is meant to remind people not just of Rogers’ ever-present sweater but about the many lessons he shared with children and adults alike.
Mitchell suggested engaging in a random act of kindness for someone, especially in light of the struggles many are experiencing due to COVID-19.
For those who want to show off their cardigans via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the hashtag remains the same.
One randomly selected social media poster will win a one-night stay at The Oaklander Hotel in Oakland and breakfast for two at Spirits & Tales.
WQED also has activities and videos on its website, wqed.org/education, and on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels for those who want to celebrate World Kindness Day, Cardigan Day and King Friday’s birthday virtually.
And those who may want to experience a little of the Mister Rogers magic in person have the opportunity to do so on Friday. WQED is rolling out King Friday XIII’s castle outside its building at 4802 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The lane in front of the building will be closed, and motorists will be able to pull up to see the castle. While supplies last, children will receive a kindness bag filled with snacks, Sarris Candies chocolates and other goodies. If the weather is good, motorists can take photos of the castle from the car.
No matter how people choose to observe, Mitchell said, the message for the day is simple and clear: “People want to be kind and good and nice, and everybody wants a little bit of kindness.”
WQED also partners with local libraries through its Inquire Within program, and schools through its Smart Schools program.
The former program is geared toward out-of-school time programs that encourage family engagement and learning through STEM and early literacy skills.
Participating libraries include: Frazier Community Library, German-Masontown Library and Uniontown Public Library in Fayette County; Eva K. Bowlby Public Library and Flenniken Public Library in Greene County; and Donora Public Library, Citizens Library – Central Library, Marianna Community Public Library, Monongahela Public Library and Peters Township Public Library in Washington County.
The Smart Schools program, in place at several elementary schools in Fayette and Washington counties, uses media to educate and engage students.