Return of 49th Woollybear Festival days away


VERMILION, Ohio (WJW) — Get your kids, pets and costumes ready, because we are just one week away from Woollybear 49.

The annual festival and parade, celebrating caterpillars was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but will make its triumphant return on Sunday, October 10 in Vermilion, Ohio.

Sandy Coe, Executive Director of the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce says it’s an exciting time preparing for the event, after an extremely difficult year.

Not only was the Woollybear canceled, but it’s founder, Fox 8‘s legendary meteorologist Dick Goddard passed away on August 4, 2020.

“It was heartbreaking, people were heartbroken,” said Sandy, “It was tough, it was a tough year.”

Honoring Mr. Goddard’s legacy will be top priority at Woollybear 49, and they’re getting help from his daughter Kim.

“He always lead the parade, he always sang the National Anthem so this year Kim Goddard is going to be the Grand Parade Marshal and sing the National Anthem with the high school marching band,” said Sandy.

The festival and parade is the single largest one day event in the state drawing around 100,000 people.

All of your friends and familiar faces from Fox 8 will also be there, but this year due to COVID they will only participate in the parade.

People will still be able to stop by the Fox 8 booth and spin a prize wheel to win swag from some of your favorite Fox TV programs including the Masked Singer.

“It’s gonna be a fun event, Lil Jon’s gonna be there,” said Sandy, “All of our local merchants, we have a market place, people bringing different items from neat artwork to pottery and of course a lot of food.”

Everything kicks off at 9 a.m. with Fox 8‘s Todd Meany and his band Ace Molar taking center stage, followed by the Woollybear 500 caterpillar race, and kids and pets costume contests.

This year all contestants will receive a free t-shirt with artwork designed by Mr. Goddard.

Another tee will be available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting Friendship APL in Elyria, Ohio.

And because COVID is still a concern, there will some safety measures including sanitizing stations and additional measures ready just in case things suddenly change across the date and are needed. 

But most importantly, Sandy says the free, family friendly event Goddard started and so dearly loved will live on.

“That man was so loved and he still is,” said Sandy, “He has touched thousands and thousands of lives and it’s just amazing truly amazing.” 

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