2011 Woollybear Festival – Vermilion, Ohio

Dick Goddard hosts the 39th Annual Woollybear Parade & Festival, Vermilion, Ohio, Sunday, October 9, 2011.

Woollybear Festival

The Banded Wooly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella). Top – the familiar larva stage. Bottom – few people will recognize the Isabella Tiger Moth as the adult or ‘imago’ stage. (The smaller the dark band on the caterpillar – the more severe will be the winter, as the folklore goes.)

The Woollybear Festival is the largest one day festival in the state of Ohio. Cleveland’s Fox 8 Meteorologist Dick Goddard hosts the fun-filled events when the 39th Annual Woollybear Parade & Festival takes over Vermilion, Ohio on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

The woollybear wackiness all started more than three decades ago. Northeast Ohio TV weatherman Dick Goddard of Fox8 TV in Cleveland talked with some friends and co-workers about his idea of a celebration built around using the woollybear to forecast what kind of winter is ahead.

The first Woollybear Festival attracted perhaps 2,000 people but now the event attracts an estimated 15,000 and features the Woollybear Parade, one of the largest parades in the state of Ohio. It starts at 1:30 pm and lasts approximately 2 hours. It includes the Woollybear kids and pets, over 15 marching bands with nearly 2,000 musicians, radio and TV personalities, vintage automobiles, floats animals, festival queens, clowns and much more!

The Woollybear Festival areas consist of entertainment, food booths, craft booths, and merchant sales. But a stroll through downtown Vermilion will reward you with it’s many quaint shops offering everything from home-made chocolates to candles, including an old fashioned soda fountain rest stop.

One of the major attractions of the town is the Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Founded to preserve and interpret the maritime history of the Great Lakes you can stand at the helm of a real lake ore freighter, see artifacts from famed shipwrecks in the lakes, and surround yourself with the history of everything from the Battle of Lake Erie to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (Note: the later date of the Woollybear Festival this year precludes a visit — infortunately the museum is closed Oct. 1 thru April 30).  

Another unique feature of Vermilion is “The Lagoons” a prestigious residential area across the river from downtown.  To get a water-level view of the town and the lagoons The Mystic Belle, a tiny sternwheeler cruise boat, will be operating during the Woollybear Festival taking visitors on rides up and down the Vermilion River.

Vermilion Ohio is only an hour and forty minute drive from Youngstown along I-80 west.

You can raise Woolly Bears and watch them turn into Isabella Moths. Here’s the “How To.”

Visit the official Woollybear Site, Vermilion.

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