LEWISBURG - With the first few days of fall having come and gone, many are wondering what kind of winter Lycoming County can expect this year.
Mayor Judy Wagner, of Lewisburg, isn't worried. She intends to get her weather predictions from the "expert" caterpillar-wrangler during Lewisburg's 16th annual Woolly Worm Festival, held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at Hufnagle Park.
The event, which benefits children's charities, offers family-friendly activities throughout the day, but culminates in the "weather prognostication ceremony." A group of "judges" study the fluffy caterpillars and then make their weather predictions for the oncoming winter.
Legend has it that the woolly bear caterpillar, celebrated during the festival, can help observers predict the winter's severity. According to tradition, a high number of thicker, brown stripes means a mild winter, while a low number means a harder winter.
"It depends on the coats of these woolly worm specimens. They study the worms, and measure the lengths of the brown and black rings, then make predictions. The judges have a great time and get goofy with it; it's all in fun," Wagner said.
This year's Master of Ceremonies will be Jim Hamill, of WNEP. The panel of "experts" will be led by Mile Moyer.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Woolly Worm Festival
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
"We tried to make this an event the entire family can enjoy. We don't want to just benefit children's charities, we want to give local families an opportunity to enjoy a fun day with their own children," Wagner said.
The festival will open with a performance from the Lewisburg High School Marching Band. Other musical acts featured will include Todd Cummings, who performs children and folk-style music.
Scott Fritz, a balloon artist, will give an interactive demonstration about balloon art and balloon animals, which will begin at noon.
Brett Kessler, a magician, will perform at 1:15 p.m. and Kingdom Kidz, a performance group, will put on a puppet show focused around the woolly worm's story at 2:30 p.m.
Throughout the day, attendees will be able to enjoy worm races, where children can bring in their own woolly bear caterpillars and see whose is fastest. Other activities will include a moon bounce, a petting zoo, and pony rides.
This event is coordinated by the Kiwanis of Buffalo Valley AM and the Bull Run Neighbor Committee in Lewisburg.