RIDGELAND ­- As part of a National Cancer Awareness "Pink Tie/Pink Apron" initiative, the city will be recognizing contributions made from local restaurants next Friday.

At a 10 a.m. ceremony, Mayor Gene McGee, along with the Ridgeland Tourism Commission, will be proclaiming Aug. 16 as "Chef's Appreciation Day."

"The chefs of Ridgeland's exceptional restaurants and catering are an essential part in creating great experiences for our visitors and the locals," said Mary Beth Wilkerson, executive director of the Ridgeland Tourism Commission. "National Chefs' Appreciation Day is a way for us to celebrate and recognize their contribution to the hospitality industry and also bring attention to the fight against cancer."McGee brought the event to Ridgeland with the help of the National Pink Tie Organization.

"I was contacted by a chef friend in Dallas, Texas, who brought me information about it," said the mayor. Deciding to join the rest of the country in the fight against cancer, McGee chose to declare the third Saturday in August as an annual day to commemorate both restaurateurs and those who fight the uphill battle to recovery.

The "Pink Tie/Pink Apron" collaborative initiative is the brainchild of the National Pink Tie Organization, founded in February 2011 by Donald Crutch. "It's a volunteer organization," said McGee, "and it's strictly dedicated to raising funds to fight cancer."

The non-profit serves as an opportunity for men to show support and inform communities about cancer. It aims to empower men all over the nation to unify in the fight against cancer.

"Together we are a formidable army that shows a man's compassion, caring and perseverance to help raise funds that support prevention, early detection, treatment options, financial assistance and support groups of those that are diagnosed and undergoing treatment for cancer," explains Crutch.

Friday's signing will take place at Rossini Cucina Italiana. Those who attend are encouraged to wear a pink tie or apron to create visibility for the cause.

"This is a way to show our local restaurant chefs how much we appreciate them and also to bring attention to cancer in an attempt to make people aware of the fact that it's a terrible killer," McGee said.

For additional details about Chef's Appreciation Day and the National Pink Tie Organization, visit the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChefsAppreciationDay.