VERMILION, OHIO - It's almost time for the largest one day festival in all of Ohio!
The 46th annual Woollybear Festival kicks off Sunday, the fundraising festival, the creation of Fox 8's own legendary meteorologist Dick Goddard.
"Even though Mr. Goddard retired from Fox 8 he can never retire from the Woollybear Festival," said Sandy Coe of the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce. "He created it, started as a caterpillar, he never thought it was going to blossom into something so huge, into a cocoon, into a beautiful butterfly."
People and their pets often come dressed like the woollybear, whose stripes according to legend can predict the winter weather. The wider the brown stripe on a woollybear, the milder the winter season.
Vermilion is no stranger to tourism due to its fresh perch and walleye, however, the crowds that pack into the city are unique to Northeast Ohio, creating quite the task for police to manage.
"Come early and stay late has always been our motto," said Vermilion Police Chief Christopher Hartung. "This is normally a town of around 10,500 people but when the woollybear comes we can have up to 100,000 people in this town."
Thursday, it was all hands on deck as several businesses prepared for the massive crowds. At Brummer's Homemade Chocolates, staff worked to begin making and bagging 1,300 caramel apples. Inside Poppin Around Gourmet Popcorn a similar sight, as staff worked to create their festival mix. While the town prepares for the unique festival, Coe encourages everyone to attend.
"It's free, it's family fun, everybody becomes a kid that day," said Coe.