Woollybear Festival – Vermilion

80.) Woollybear Festival – Vermilion – September 26, 2010

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: There is an updated 2014 Review here – http://ohiofestivals.net/woollybear-festival-revisited/

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Although Vermilion’s Woollybear Festival is similar to their June festival, Festival of the Fish

…in regards to vendors…

…children’s activities…

…entertainment…

…and food…

…the Woollybear Festival gets a lot more attention (and visitors) during its one-day run than all three days of the fish fest.

And a big reason for this is Woollybear Festival publicist, host, and creator…

…Cleveland meteorologist Dick Goddard.

Created to teach children about the weather, the festival began in 1973 in the town of Birmingham, where it ran for eight years before the crowd grew to 15,000.

At that point, the festival was moved to Vermilion to better accommodate festival goers…

…and it’s been celebrated there ever since.

Since the woolly bear has weather-foretelling powers (much like that of a groundhog), people come in part to see what the winter will be like. A thicker brown stripe on the caterpillar means a mild winter, whereas a thin brown stripe foretells a severe one…

…something the Ohio State Snowmobile Association was probably banking on.

But putting so much pressure on a little furry caterpillar isn’t what the festival is about. People are happy to attend the festival no matter what the prediction is and the guy who shovels your driveway isn’t going to raise his rates based on a thin stripe alone (I hope).

No, people come because it’s a uniquely themed festival at a nice location and Dick Goddard and friends (including Cleveland’s Big Chuck and Lil’ John) help make it fun through events like the caterpillar races.

Plus it’s extremely animal friendly.

Stump Hill Exotic Animal Farm (Massillon), a non-profit organization, allowed festival goers to get close to their animals for a small fee…

..which was used to help find the animals new homes.

The North Coast Greyhound Connection came with a similar goal…

…seeking families for their retired dogs.

And there were festival goers and their pets who came just to have fun…

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…even if some animals came better dressed for the festival in Lithopolis.

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Fortunately, that was easily remedied through woolly bear accessories…

…for the ears…

…legs…

…or entire bodies.

At the Easter Seals, they sold one of the more popular items…

…the woolly bear headbands.

But if you were too paranoid about what others might think of you…
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…they had a woolly bear camera op for a dollar donation.

And why wouldn’t you want to look a little more “woolly bear” after all the good the festival did? It gave visitors a fun day out with family and friends, a feeling of community and a warmth in their hearts after helping various non-profit groups.

With everything said and done, why wouldn’t Vermilion love holding the festival in their town…

…and why wouldn’t they love Dick Goddard?

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