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In a move sure to please the greeting card lobby, Gov. Martin O'Malley has declared that Valentine's Day will be celebrated this year as "Valentine's Week," stretching to Feb. 21.
The governor said the record snowstorms left him no other choice.
" Maryland citizens have been busy dealing with the unprecedented snowfall this past week," O'Malley said in a news release that came just as men and women rushed to candy stores Friday. "Planning Valentine's Day activities, such as ordering flowers, buying gifts, or booking restaurants and overnight getaways, might not have happened."
Shaun Adamec, an O'Malley spokesman, said it was "only fair" to extend the holiday, because the governor had urged people to hunker down for five days during the storms.
It's a tongue-in-cheek move, Adamec acknowledges, that comes with no actual government benefits.
But it's not original.
In 2007, then-Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon decreed that Valentine's Day be observed through Feb. 18.
And a Valentine's Day ice storm in 1994 prompted then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer to extend the holiday through Feb. 20.
"We should help Maryland's florists ... and any romantics who might not have been able to do their Valentine shopping," Schaefer said at the time.
So what does this year's Valentine's Week mean for first lady Katie O'Malley? Adamec wouldn't say. "I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises the governor has planned."