DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a backyard on Farmlane Dr., a groundhog emerges from a hut, and quickly scurries inside, making his prediction.
“He wants to go back in and not sit and eat,” announces Bob Will, the handler for Dunkirk Dave. “So six more weeks of winter weather, folks. I’m sorry.”
Some groans and some cheers come from the small crowd gathered to see the prediction, watching the second-longest weather predicting groundhog. The Zappie family has been coming for six straight years.
“He’s been right every time I’ve been here,” said James Zappie. “It’s a nice little groundhog celebration. You can come and get the weather forecast a little early.”
Lillian, 8, arrives ready to hear the forecast with her groundhog headband and an encouraging card for Dave, with a few dollars inside for some snacks for him as well as her thoughts and predictions.
“I look forward to it every year,” said Lillian.
This year, a new groundhog is taking over the Dave duties. At just three years old, he is a first time prognosticator, following in the footsteps of dozens of other Daves before him, all from the Dunkirk area.
“He’s a little calmer than some of the other ones,” said Will.
It took some coaxing to get him out of his hut but overall, his handler gives him high marks.
“He did well,” said Will. “He came out, looked around and decided that it looked to him that he thinks the sunshine would scare him and to go back in the hole. So now we’ll have six more weeks of winter weather.”