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The 34th Annual Woolly Worm Festival

Updated on February 4, 2017

Harvest time in the mountains...

All across the northern hemisphere and more particularly in this great country of ours, communities are in transition.We find ourselves in the annual change from the warmth of summer into the chill of fall and ultimately the freeze of winter.We know what all we have to do, many of us have made this transition for years now and anymore we find ourselves entwined within a symphony of activities that generally culminates around the holidays of Thanksgiving time each year.Of course the farmers are busy harvesting the late crops while at home the misses toil with the canning and freezing of fruits and vegetables that won’t be freshly available again until next year’s crops begin to come in almost a year from now.It’s just the way things are and we’ve all come to accept, and to many of us it’s a joyous time of celebration as well as one of anticipation.

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cute little critter...
cute little critter...

My first woolly worm...

It's not all toil and labor though for amidst all this preparation we find times of fun and laughter for the whole family to participate in. Speaking to an acquaintance the other day we found ourselves suddenly interrupted by a small grandchild that while stumbling over our feet as we talked politics proudly stated. "Papaw, I caught the first wooly worm." "His little face was beaming as we chuckled acknowledgment of his triumphal achievement. Then we remembered we were in the second week of October already and that meant this coming weekend would be the 34th Annual Woolly Worm Festival in nearby Banner Elk North Carolina.Around here each year it's a big thing to notice the wooly worms and how well they are 'decked out'. This is an indicator of just what kind of winter to expect over the coming months.How does a wooly worm know you might ask and we just smile and add, "Well, how do you think the Farmer's Almanac gets their information?" We find that just stuns tourist because they don't even know what the Farmer's Almanac is.

Punxsutawney Phil
Punxsutawney Phil

Weather indicators...

Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always heard that observance of the bands on the woolly worm is a good indicator as to whether we would experience a mild or severe winter during the coming months.If the dark bands are thin then we would experience a milder winter than usual, and if the bands were indeed darker and wider the winter was supposed to be more severe and longer than usual, so one thing we all do around here is look at the woolly worms as they crawl around looking for a suitable place to spin their cocoon so as to ‘winter over’ until they hatch out next spring and summer.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” said a cousin of mine from Pennsylvania that had just married into the family some years back.“What on earth would an insect know about the weather anyway,” he said.I remember my dad just smiled and answered, “Probably about as much as Punxsutawney Phil would about how soon we should begin to expect next spring…”

© 2011 SamSonS

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  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 5 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks frogyfish for stopping by and commenting- Yes, they are real and there's thousands of them. The festival is a hoot for sure, maybe you can come next year...

  • frogyfish profile image

    frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

    samsons1, I did not think your pretty little wooly worm was REAL! Then there were bunches of them in the video.., my goodness, they are cuties! And I'll bet the festival is a cool hoot too - wish I could be there! Thank you for an enjoyable hub!

  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Cousin for droppin' by-- I think the kids find them easier that I do any more...

  • Cousin Fudd profile image

    RobertElias Ballard 6 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina

    How da doo there sampsons, I haven't seen one yet so still looking for the annual winter prognosticator and an inch worm to light one me, could use a new shirt and and a new pair of britches. lol

  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks so much Quill for stopping by and making comment. I can remember forgetting to remove them from my pockets before mom would wash the clothes and hearing her scream...

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    "Quill Again" 6 years ago

    Morning samsons1... Thanks for the memories as these little creatures entertained us often during the late fall months as children. Mom used to get rather annoyed as I collected them as a child. Ours in this region are black and yellow and very striking.

    Voted up and awesome...