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French Creek Freddie Predicts An Early Spring

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FRENCH CREEK -

Every year since 1978, the West Virginia State Wildlife Center invites the community in to meet French Creek Freddie.

It's up to him to decide if we are going to have six more weeks of winter or have an early spring.

It was a very cold Saturday in Upshur County.

"It was three degrees this morning," said Gene Thorn, Wildlife Biologist. "We've had about 200 people here this morning which is great for the kind of weather we had today."

But even three degree weather didn't stop people from coming out to meet French Creek's famous ground hog.

"We are college students at West Virginia Wesleyan and we wanted to come out and show our support for French Creek Freddie," said Zach Lonergan, spectator.

It didn't take long for an unhappy Freddie to come out of his warm home into the cold.

And guess what?

No shadow in sight.

"The sun was shining from like 7:30 until about 20 seconds before he came out of his hole," Thorn said. "That was good timing because we sure don't want six more weeks of winter weather," Thorn said.

Most people in the stands were happy there was no shadow.

"I didn't want him to see his shadow because my birthday is soon and I wanted it to be warm," said Bailey Carpenter, spectator.

Others were disappointed.

"There's a lot of stuff to do around here in the winter so it's good to have a little bit more snow and more time to enjoy the snow."

Spectators were able to get up close and personal with Freddie.

"After we have Freddie out, we have a time where they can gather around and take pictures and so forth," Thorn said. "Then we have refreshments in the gift shop, hot chocolate and coffee and cookies."

"It was really cool," Carpenter said. "It was fun."

French Creek Freddie joined Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania by predicting an early spring.