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Woolly bears indicate average winter

November 03, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

When 5-year-old Reagan Carbaugh combed his family's 400-acre farm in Clear Spring for a prize-winning woolly bear caterpillar to submit to the The Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack's annual contest, his sister, Val, helped with the search.

Together, they collected a handful of the fuzzy creatures to turn into the woolly bear headquarters.

Reagan's plump, fuzzy contestant, whom he has yet to name, earned the title of "cutest and cuddliest" in this year's contest.

The prize, worth $100 cash for Reagan, means he's following in the footsteps of his 11-year-old sister, Kimberly, who won the same category in the contest two years ago.

Reagan said he plans to spend his prize money on Lego building blocks.

Jacob Anderson of Williamsport will receive a $25 cash prize as runner-up in the contest for "cutest and cuddliest."

Sisters Haley and Emily Himes of Keedysville won the "biggest and wooliest" prize of $100 with their caterpillar that Haley, 5, calls "Bug."

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Haley said she planned to release Bug back into the wild near her grandparents' farm on Lappans Road this afternoon.

Almanack business manager Jerry Spessard said 102 woolly bears were submitted for this year's contest, down from more than 200 entries last year.

The purpose of the contest is to collect enough caterpillars to analyze their markings, an old wives' tale indicator of the type of winter in store for the year.

This year's forecast from the crop of caterpillars predicts an average winter in duration and severity, Spessard said.

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