Once again, forecast is fuzzy

November 19, 1997

Once again, forecast is fuzzy


Staff Writer

Sarah Keller's woolly bear is cute, cuddly and, some think, can predict weather. But most important, it's worth $100.

Sarah, 13, of Big Pool, won a $100 cash prize in the woolly bear contest sponsored by the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack. Her entry was judged the "cutest and cuddliest" woolly bear.

The woolly bear found by Hancock resident Darren Smith Jr. earned him $100 in the "biggest and woolliest" category.

The duo faced relatively little competition this year; only 120 woolly bears were entered this year, the fewest in the 15-year history of the contest, according to contest judge Frank Leiter.


The contest provides incentive for people to collect the fuzzy creatures, which folklore holds can predict the winter's weather.

Darren, 9, said he found his woolly bear, which was almost 3 inches big, toward the end of October.

"I was playing in the woods one day and I found one," said Darren, a Hancock Elementary School fourth-grader.

Leiter said the large woolly bears, which usually are solid black, have no weather-predicting abilities. But he said officials added the category years ago because so many people entered them.

Sarah also found her woolly bear in the woods. She said she kept it in a cage with hermit crabs until contest time came. She said the two species pretty much stayed to themselves.

"They got along pretty well," said Sarah, who goes to Clear Spring Middle School.

Based on the woolly bears' bands, Almanack officials predict a colder-than-normal winter from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15; the second half of winter will be milder.

The prediction was made based on the woolly bears' bands. The front band, representing the first half of winter, was slightly longer than normal. The back band, representing the second half of winter, was significantly shorter than normal.

Tom Hawks, a Mack Trucks retiree, was runner-up in the "biggest and woolliest" category and Clear Spring resident Heather Goldzwig took second place in the "cutest and cuddliest" category. They each receive six copies of the almanac.

All four winners also receive a 200th Anniversary Collectible Bank.

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