BANNER ELK, N.C. — The woolly worm has aced his winter prediction, so far.
The Woolly Bear caterpillar has thirteen brown and black stripes on its body that represent the thirteen weeks of winter. According to mountain folklore, and the Woolly Worm Festival’s website, “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.”
So, on the third weekend of October, people from all over the world attend the Woolly Worm Festival and let the tiny creatures race up a piece of string to see who will make the prediction for the coming winter.
This year’s winner predicted a winter with a cold and snowy beginning, a warm middle, and back to snow.
While it is not always completely accurate, says the Woolly Worm Dude Jason Dewitt, the festival does get bigger every year.
“We need it. It’s fun, it’s part of the heritage, it’s part of the culture, it’s one of those fun things. There are a lot of fun thing about the high country,” says Dewitt.
With winter now coming to an end however, Dewitt says they’ve found that the worm had a more than 90 percent accurate prediction for this year’s winter.
The woolly worm has predicted a warmer last week of winter, so we will just have to wait and see how accurate this year’s winner really is.