OBSERVER Staff Writer
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, being 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.
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 to cancel the event.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Dunkirk Dave predicted an early spring Saturday morning. Holding Dunkirk Dave is Bob Will, handler of Dunkirk Dave, and David Bridges. Bridges came from Tonawanda to celebrate his 50th birthday.
"(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 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 Saturday to Pennsylvania but due to Anna's band concert, the family was forced to stay local.
Another birthday celebration came from David Bridges who traveled from Tonawanda. He nicknamed himself "Tonawanda Dave." He said he has been wanted to attend 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 on Dunkirk Dave, visit www.dunkirkdave.com.
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