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Mr. Woolly Worm Roy Krege shares some of his trademark witty banter with an overflow crowd during last weekend’s Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk. Thousands of locals and visitors attended the 35th annual event, most with trained woolly worms in tow, which they raced in hopes of becoming the grand champion and official winter weather prognosticator.
Photo by Matthew Hundley

Originally published: 2012-10-24 16:19:27
Last modified: 2012-10-24 16:19:27

‘Split’ decision - Woolly Worm Festival delivers official winter forecast

Sam Calhoun / (

Lickety Split, a woolly worm trained by Tammy Watson of Belmont, was crowned lord of the strings at the 35th annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk last weekend. Lickety Split’s triumph in Oct. 20’s final race won its owner a total of $1,075 and itself the honor of predicting the upcoming winter’s weather.
The win for Watson and Lickety Split is the culmination of more than two decades of fruitless attempts at the crown, as Watson and her mother, Brenda Watkins, have attended and raced worms at the festival for 23 years.
After examining the winning worm’s 13 bands of fur (which correspond to the 13 weeks of winter), Grand Marshal and official woolly worm forecaster Tommy Burleson proclaimed the following official winter forecast for the High Country:

Week 1 (Dec. 22 to Dec. 29): Cold and snowy
Week 2 (Dec. 30 to Jan. 5, 2013): Cold and snowy
Week 3 (Jan. 6, 2013, to Jan. 12, 2013): Cold and snowy
Week 4 (Jan. 13, 2013, to Jan. 19, 2013): Cold and snowy
Week 5 (Jan. 20, 2013, to Jan. 26, 2013): Light snow with cool temperatures
Week 6 (Jan. 27, 2013, to Feb. 2, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 7 (Feb. 3, 2013, to Feb. 9, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 8 (Feb. 10, 2013, to Feb. 16, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 9 (Feb. 17, 2013, to Feb. 23, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 10 (Feb. 24, 2013, to March 2, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 11 (March 3, 2013, to March 9, 2013): Normal temperatures
Week 12 (March 10, 2013, to March 16, 2013): Ice storm possible
Week 13 (March 17, 2013, to March 23, 2013): Cold and snowy

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