When it comes to predicting the length of winter, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawny Phil is going to have some competition this year from General Stark II, Stark Parks' resident woodchuck.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, 8:30 a.m., at the Exploration Gateway, General Stark II will predict how long the winter will last.
Crafts and activities for children will be 8-10:30 a.m., with General Stark II checking for his shadow at an 8:30 a.m. presentation and proclamation.
A program on woodchucks and Groundhog Day will run from 9-10 a.m., with limited seating. Snacks and holiday-inspired specials will be offered at the FeLeap's Lily Pad Gift Shop throughout the day.
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on that day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly "see its shadow" and retreat back into the burrow, with winter weather continuing for six more weeks.
Stark Parks' 12-lb. resident woodchuck, General Stark II, came to Stark Parks' Sanders Wildlife Rehabilitation Center from Waynesburg on May 19, 2012, as a dehydrated, emaciated baby whose mother had died.
Despite being paired with four other woodchucks, General Stark II has never become wild, maintaining instead an unusually docile temperament suitable for use in park programming.
The Stark Parks event is free, but registration is required at www.StarkParks.com or 330-409-8096.
The Exploration Gateway is located at 5712 12th St NW, Canton, on the north side of Sippo Lake Park.