Annual Woollybear Festival returns to Vermilion tomorrow

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VERMILION, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio’s largest one-day festival is now just hours away.

Vermilion is preparing for the return of the annual FOX 8 Woollybear Festival on Sunday, which will commemorate its founder, beloved meteorologist Dick Goddard.

This makes the 49th year for the festival and its Woollybear races, costumes and grand parade, following a year in hibernation in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a blessing,”said Christa Gillis with Brummer’s Chocolates.

The business is among those preparing for an influx of crowds. Workers spent the day dipping caramel apples, the shop’s fall speciality.

“Woollybear Festival is the largest festival of the year,” Gillis said. “It’s such an exciting day.”

There will be treats for the four-foots, too, at newly-opened Rocky and Lela’s Barkery and Boutique.

 “I have homemade treats, I have some new Halloween treats,” owner Angela McClure said. “I have my Ohio State, Cleveland Browns, Steelers bandanas coming in and football jerseys.”

This year’s festival will be bittersweet, as it marks the first festival since Goddard passed away in August 2020.

“We really want to honor him and make him proud of his legacy he created 49 years ago,” Vermilion Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Coe said.

Goddard’s lasting legacy, including his love of animals, will be on display throughout the festival.

“He just touched the lives of so many, from being on FOX 8 News and coming into your living room every night on the news and just from Woollybear and Goddard’s Law,” Coe said.

Profits from the Chamber’s Woollybear T-shirts, which were being printed at Szabo Apparel Thursday, will benefit Friendship APL.

Coffee shop Brewed Awakening is offering Goddard and Woollybear lattes, with $1 from each sale benefiting the Humane Society of Erie County.

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