** A look back at Woollybear 47 in the video above**
CLEVELAND (WJW)– Only Dick Goddard could turn a celebration for a caterpillar into Ohio’s largest one-day festival.
The legendary meteorologist founded the Woollybear Festival in 1973. For decades, people have flocked to Vermilion for the wonderfully wacky event and parade.
It features a costume contest, caterpillar races and culminates with the winter forecast. According to folklore, the woollybear caterpillar can predict upcoming winter weather. A wide orange stripe indicates a mild winter.
Goddard’s first festival was held in the small community of Birmingham and served as a fundraiser for a local school district. As the parade and the number of spectators grew, Woollybear needed a new home. The city of Vermilion happily stepped in.
“It helps out so many non-profits and school fundraisers, so this is a wonderful thing,” said Sandy Coe, Vermilion Chamber of Commerce.
In the sea of visitors, Goddard could be found visiting with fans and petting dogs dressed up for the occasion.