Woollybear Energy Spikes in Vermilion
VERMILION, Ohio – The town is beaming with black and orange and now locals are gearing up to celebrate everything Woollybear.
“The Woollybear Festival is fantastic,” said Vickie Dyke, owner of Varsity Town USA. “First of all, we’ll get about 125,000 coming through our little, sleepy little ‘burb. We have the best parade. Kids are all so happy. It’s fall.”
The festival will take over downtown Vermilion on Sunday, marking the 40th annual Woollybear Festival. The day includes a parade, contests for the kids and pets, and races with the caterpillar the event is named after, the woollybear.
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According to legend, the size of the stripe on the caterpillar determines the harshness of the upcoming winter. More orange predicts a mild winter, whereas a small line predicts severe conditions.
“We did the big Woollybear race back in the day,” said Jim Lowder, owner of Woodstock Café. “And I understand this year, there’s an Obama woollybear and a Mitt Romney woollybear, so that’s going to be interesting.”
The Woollybear Festival has certainly gained a lot of momentum over the years.
Last year, more than 100,000 people attended the event. This year, the Chamber of Commerce announced there will be 15 marching bands, about 2,000 musicians and a lot of local personalities, including host and Fox 8 meteorologist Dick Goddard.
“It’s awesome, the spirit in this town. How they support the Woollybear Festival, and so I think it’s beautiful. It’s awesome and it’s fun,” said Sandy Grisel, executive director of Vermilion’s Chamber of Commerce.
Grisel’s late mother was one of the founding mothers of Woollybear.
Grisel said it’s an honor to make Woollybear bigger and better each year, in honor of her mom and the hundreds of people who’ve made the event a success year after year.
“It’s such a joy to see people in this town. Adults, children… I mean adults transform into children,” Grisel said. “It brings out the kid in you, this Woollybear Festival. It’s fun. It’s free and it’s fun.