100,000 people attend 46th Annual Woollybear Festival

VERMILION, Ohio -- The wacky and wonderful Annual Woollybear Festival returned to Vermilion, Ohio Sunday for its 46th year.

The festival and parade, which was founded by Fox 8 legendary meteorologist Dick Goddard is the largest single day event in the entire state.

“It’s great to see all these people here,” said Mr. Goddard.

Once again about 100,000 people turned out for the family friendly, free event sponsored by Fox 8 News and the City of Vermilion Chamber of Commerce.

“It helps out so many non-profits and school fundraisers, so this is a wonderful thing,” said Sandy Coe, Executive Director of the chamber.

Dozens of children brought caterpillars to compete in the Woollybear 500 race. A worm named Girl Scout won the overall competition.

Fortunately the weather was cooler with abundant sunshine for all of the animals, adults and small children dressed up in costumes.

“Dick Goddard knows weather and he planned it perfect,” said Lil’ John Rinaldi.

Lil’ John and his partner Big Chuck have been at every single Woollybear with Goddard since it began in 1973.

“It’s awesome, every year we figure it’s gonna stop and it never does,” said Big Chuck Schodowski, ”Dick really started something that could last forever.”

Many other familiar faces from Fox 8 News were also in attendance meeting with viewers, signing autographs and participating in the parade alongside dozens of high school marching bands, vintage cars and floats.

“It just gets bigger and bigger ever year,” said Lou Maglio, “A great transition from summer into fall.”

According to folklore the woollybear caterpillar can predict the upcoming winter weather. A wider orange stripe is supposed to mean a milder winter.

The teeny, tiny prognosticators said that northern Ohio can expect a mild start to winter, followed by an icy, snowy new year.

The 46th annual Woollybear was an enormous success, and Mr. Goddard hopes everyone will come back again next year.

“It’s everybody’s Woollybear,” said Goddard.

Continuing coverage, here.