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It's open season on woolly bears

September 29, 1999

It's that time of year again when woolly bears can be seen creeping and crawling throughout Washington County.

Collecting the critters can mean cash for those who hunt out the "Cutest and Cuddliest" and "Biggest and Woolliest."

Entrees for the 17th annual Woolly Bear Contest held by the Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack will be accepted starting Friday and must be in by Oct. 31.

The person entering each winning bug will receive $100 and the runners-up in each category are given six copies of the 2000 almanac.

Woolly bears can be sent or taken to the almanac office at 1120 Professional Court, second floor, Eastern Boulevard, Hagerstown, according to Gerald W. Spessard, business manager.

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The insects are kept for the length of the contest, judged and then released in the Downsville area, he said.

The woolly bear contest is open to people of all ages, but is a special favorite of children, Spessard said.

"We encourage all of you to keep your eyes peeled for outstanding examples of our furry friend and join us in the fun," he said.

Some believe the severity of the coming winter can be predicted based on the woolly bear's coat.

Legend has it the wider the first black band on the bear's back, the more severe the early part of the winter will be and the wider the second black band, the more severe the latter half of the winter will be.

- Kimberly Yakowski

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