Six more weeks of winter
"We can expect six more weeks of winter," Chimney Rock Village Mayor Barbara Meliski proclaimed at 11 a.m. Saturday as Grady the Groundhog saw his shadow during an event at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.
Captured on film by newspaper and television reporters, it was official, spring is not around the corner.
Meliski, and those watching Grady scamper from his cage, agreed he had certainly seen his shadow on the sunny morning. Though sunny, temperatures hovered around 30 degrees.
After it was officially confirmed, Grady saw his shadow Meliski announced, "Here on the second day of February, 2013, Grady sees his shadow."
Emily Walker, the park's education director, talked to the children and adults about groundhogs before he opened the door to Grady's cage. He ran out and right back inside. "He's come back out," she said while picking him up and putting in the center of the crowd, who stood behind a makeshift fence.
Groundhogs have been coming out of hibernation to foretell the changing seasons since the 18th century. But for Grady, it was his fifth year to play celebrity for the park's official prognostication.
Walker treated Grady to a large sweet potato and he munched while greeting children of all ages.
Carolina Brown and her brother Parker Brown traveled from Campobello, S.C. to witness the forecast and took time to pet him.
From Gastonia, Cole Ballard traveled with his parents and was delighted to pet the groundhog.
Ballard had never seen a groundhog so close before, "But I see him all the time on the roads."