ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — August 15th is celebrated in Rockford as “815 Day,” so named for the telephone area code assigned to the region.

Businesses and restaurants from around the area advertised special discounts and challenges to celebrate.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara kicked off Tuesday with a speech at 8:15 a.m. that included a proclamation, and also shared why 815 Day is important to him.

“This is really one of my favorite days of the entire year,” McNamara said. “It’s a day that we can celebrate everything that’s good about our community. Obviously, like any community, we have so many challenges and opportunities, but I think it’s really wonderful that we take this day each year, August 15th, to really celebrate all the things that make Rockford such a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Rockford native Danielle Gates said the day represents, to her, all the good things happening in her hometown.

“To me, 815 Day is just coming out and celebrating where you’re from, and showing pride in Rockford,” she said. “I love being downtown. I love when people get together, the moods, and stuff like that. I love it.”

Jarrod Hennis owns Rockford Art Deli, a print shop located at 402 E State Street. Hennis said the store’s run of 815 Day shirts started 9 years ago, and now says its a badge of pride for living in the Forest City.

“I would say 815 Day means it’s the community showing … the history of the city and the pride and everyone kind of coming together to support local businesses,” he said. “I think a lot of people want this sense of pride in their city. Not everyone can have a day and a month that works for their area code.”

Rockford-based artist Lesly Martinez, of the Love Your Mental advocacy brand, says 815 Day is the highlight of the year for local businesses, with so many people from the community getting together downtown.

“We have a strong community, with so much support — in regards to food trucks, Rockford Art Deli, our darling small businesses, like myself — and the community comes together and really shows their support. 815 Day is huge!” she said.

Gates said she hopes others will see why she takes pride in Rockford 815: “There’s not all bad things in Rockford,” she said.