Although there was snow on the ground, Dunkirk Dave predicts Spring is on its way. Many gathered and braved the cold temperatures to see if an early spring would come or if six more weeks of winter would stay around. As one spectator stated, "It was perfect weather for long underwear."
About 30 people watched as Dunkirk Dave, also known as Sidewinder, was coaxed out by pumpkin pie and a lemon poppyseed muffin from a hole in the ground covered by a dollhouse. According to handler Bob Will, a specific brand of pie must be used or the groundhog will not eat. Bill Verge, who helps Will with the groundhogs said Dunkirk Dave knew food was to be had.
"(Sidewinder) knew it was coming," Verge said.
Dunkirk Dave, also known as Sidewinder, did not see a shadow early Saturday morning. Dunkirk Dave is shown enjoying a pumpkin pie and a lemon poppyseed muffin.
Photo by Samantha McDonell
Once outside consuming a tasty breakfast, no shadow was to be seen. By Groundhog Day tradition, no shadow means spring weather will come early. Will was nervous about the weather Saturday morning. The weather late Friday evening was windy and snowing and thought he may have had to cancel the event.
"(Friday), the wind was bad," Will said. "I'm glad we were able to have it. I think that there were more people here because of the weekend."
Since Groundhog Day was on a Saturday this year, many children came to watch Dunkirk Dave predict the weather. Anna Talbot came with her parents, Tom and LeaAnn to celebrate her 13th birthday. According to Tom, the family loves the animal and the holiday has become a tradition.
"It's our daughter's birthday. It has become a tradition to come out," Tom said.
The family usually travels to Punxsutawney, Pa., to see Punxsutawney Phil. The family wanted to travel today to Pennsylvania but due to Anna's band concert, the family needed to stay local.
Another birthday celebration came from David Bridges who traveled from Tonawanda. He nicknamed himself "Tonawanda Dave." He said he has been wanting to come for years.
"I have wanted to come for years," he said. "It's my 50th birthday today and figured it was a good day."
Dunkirk Dave has a 93 percent accuracy record for predictions. His rival, Punxsutawney Phil, also predicted an early spring. Dunkirk Dave is the second-largest groundhog weather prognosticator. For more information, visit www.dunkirkdave.com.