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The Woolly Worm Festival; From a Rainy Start on Saturday to a Beautiful Finish on Sunday

By Nathan Ham

Big crowds gathered in Banner Elk for the return of the Woolly Worm Festival after last year’s cancelation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Not even some dreary weather on Saturday slowed down people from making their way out to the 44th year of the historic event. 

“I was so excited, some of the vendors made the most money that they ever had at the festival. All of the vendors were excited, even though it rained on Saturday, it did not stop people from coming out and we had great attendance on Saturday and Sunday,” said Anne Winkelman, Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. 

The Weather Channel even featured the event at 7:40 and 9:40 on Sunday morning, showing off the crowds that were around on a beautiful day. 

“It was fun and very busy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Winkelman said. 

Event organizers wanted to give a special thanks to the Civil Air Patrol, Cycle 4 Life, Key Club, Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and the Boy Scouts of America for their help and support during the event. 

This year’s winning woolly worm was named Let’s Go Brandon and if the woolly worm’s colors hold true to the weather predictions, it’s going to be a cold start to the 2021-22 winter season. The 13 color segments on a woolly worm are used to predict the weather for the 13 weeks of winter. Black means below-average temperatures and snow, dark brown means below-average temperatures, light brown: means above-average temperatures and Flick is a mixture of black and brown, which means below-average temperatures with frost or light snow.

According to this year’s winning woolly worm, the first week of winter, as well as the third and fourth weeks of winter are going to be colder than average with snow. The second week will have below-average temperatures with frost or light snow. After that, the worm is predicting a dry winter with weeks five and six having above-average temperatures and weeks seven through nine having below-average temperatures. Weeks 10, 11 and 12 are all predicted to have above-average temperatures and finally, week 13 is predicted to have below-average temperatures with frost or light snow.