Save the Date for the best fun ever!
October 17th and 18th, 2015! See you soon!
2014 Woolly Worm Festival Winner, Kwazimodo
Kwazimodo the woolly worm captured first place in Saturday's races at the 37th Annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, NC, and was examined by festival experts to determine an official forecast for the coming winter in the North Carolina mountains. Based on Kwazimodo's fuzzy black and brown bands, this winter's prediction is as follows:
Weeks 1-4 (December 21-January 17) - Snowy with below normal temperatures
Week 5 (January 18-24) - Light snow with below normal temperatures
Weeks 6-10 (January 25-February 28) - Below average temperatures with little or no snow
Week 11 (March 1-7) - Moderate snow and below normal temperatures
Weeks 12-13 (March 8-21) - Snowy with below normal temperatures
Kwazimodo is owned by Vince Weyman, a ninth grade student from Graham, NC.
(photo by Jim Morton)
Past Winner and its predition: 2012 Woolly Worm Winner is Lickety Split
There are 52 weeks in a year, broken down to the 4 seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each of the 4 seasons have 13 weeks and there are 13 segments on a woolly worm. Starting at his or her little head the prediction is taken from head to it's little bottom so here we go! Black being natural abundant snow..yea winter!
Owner of the $1000 is Tammy Watson from Belmont, NC
And goes like this...
Week 1 - Black - Snow and Cold below average temperatures
Week 2 - Black - Snow and Cold below average temperatures
Week 3 - Black - Snow and Cold below average temperatures
Week 4 - Black - Snow and Cold below average temperatures
Week 5 - Black flake with Amber - below average temperatures with light snow
Week 6 - Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 7 - Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 8 - Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 9 - Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 10- Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 11- Amber - average high country temperatures
Week 12 - Black with Amber flakes - unusually cold temperatures and ice
Week - 13 - Black - cold and snowy
On Saturday there should be plenty of parking around Lees McRae College because students will be away on Fall Break. Lees-McRae College has the highest elevation of any college campus east of the Mississippi. Enjoy a walk through this beautiful campus on your way to this year's Woolly Worm Festival.
Back in the late 1970s, the editor of the now-defunct Mountain Living Magazine, Jim Morton, was preparing to include a Woolly Worm Forecast in the winter issue of the magazine. He photographed the first Woolly Worm he saw to use in formulating the prediction and illustrating his story, but the next day he saw a second worm that looked completely different from the!
"That's when it struck me that we needed some formal procedure to use to decide which was going to be the official worm for making the winter forecast," said Morton.
So since 1978, the residents of the village nestled between the Carolina's largest ski resorts have celebrated the coming of the snow season with a Woolly Worm Festival. They set aside the third weekend in October to determine which one worm will have the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter; and they make that worm earn the honor by winning heat after heat of hard-fought races - up a three-foot length of string.
The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 brown and black segments, which the late Charles Von Canon explained to the small crowd that huddled together in the sub-freezing temperatures at the first Woolly Worm Festival correspond to the 13 weeks of winter. The lighter brown a segment is, the milder that week of winter will be. The darker black a segment is, the colder and snowier the corresponding week will be.
"If you went solely by the attendance figures, you probably wouldn't call the first festival a success," recalled Morton. "But WCYB-TV in Bristol sent a cameraman and their report ended up being broadcast nationwide by NBC News. That national TV coverage was really what gave me the motivation to want to keep the event going."
And the more than 20,000 people who attended the Festival last year certainly are glad that he did. Because racing Woolly Worms is a total blast!
First, no person is more likely to have a winning worm than any other person. There is no home-field advantage, no preferred age for the person who sets the worm on the string (although worms raced by children do seem to win a bit more frequently).
Second, selecting names for the Woolly Worms is a delightful way to learn how amazingly creative your friends and family members can be. Consider these clever monikers: Merryweather, Patsy Climb and Dale Wormhardt.
Finally, there is no other experience in life that can produce the absurd euphoria that comes from cheering for a caterpillar to climb a string. It is so indisputably ridiculous that it is completely liberating!
And the $1,000 first prize that accompanies the prestige of having your worm used to pronounce the official winter forecast doesn't hurt either.
The Woolly Worm races begin around 10:00 a.m. Each heat consists of 25 worms and races continue all day until the grand final around 4 p.m. The winning worm on Saturday is declared the official winter forecasting agent. The Sunday worm races are for prestige, fun and small prizes.
In addition to the Woolly Worm Races, the festival features crafts, food vendors, live entertainment and much more. Last year's festival attracted an estimated 23,000 fans, 140 vendors and around 1,000 race entrants.
The Woolly Worm Festival is sponsored by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and a portion of the proceeds go to support children's charities throughout the county and small business and tourism. For more information phone 828-898-560