Every fall the town of Vermilion, Ohio on Lake Erie holds the colourful Woollybear Festival that attracts tens of thousands of people. The celebration is dedicated to woolly bear—the fuzzy caterpillar that can predict winter weather. At the festival, visitors can learn about the Woollybear forecast, see caterpillar races, and a spectacular parade. The Victory Park area of Vermillion and Main Street are filled with over 80 arts and crafts stalls and over 45 food vendors. Over 100,000 attendees gather in Vermillion during the festival every year.
The festival starts at 9 a.m. at the local high school stadium with the YMCA’s annual World’s Greatest Kids Race. The main highlight of Woollybear Festival is the parade featuring over 25 high school bands from all over Ohio. The parade kicks off at 1:30 pm at Grand Street; then it goes east on Sandusky Street, then turns onto South Street, and ends at Decatur Street.
Before the parade, children participate in the King and Queen Woollybear contest and contest for best woolly bear costumes. The Woollybear 500 Race starts at 5 p.m. It begins with the local Chiefs of police and fire departments selecting woolly bears that will be racing against each other. The festival closes after the weather forecast for the upcoming winter.
Woollybear Festival began in 1973, initiated by Cleveland TV weatherman Dick Goddard. The Woolly Bear Caterpillar Day is similar to Groundhog Day, as according to a widespread belief, after the caterpillars' eggs hatch, it's possible to predict how cold and snowy the upcoming winter can be by comparing the amount of black versus orange caterpillars.