Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 3, 2013

Kenmore Kate, Punxsutawney Phil predict better weather ahead

GROUNDHOG DAY: Kenmore Kate, Punxsutawney Phil predict better weather ahead.

By Jill Keppeler
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — KENMORE — If Kate is correct, all this snow will soon be a thing of the past.

Several dozen people braved the ice and cold to gather Saturday morning at Kenmore’s Village Green for the second Groundhog Day celebration, featuring Kenmore Kate.

As the bundled-up crowd huddled against the chilly, snow-laden wind, Aiden O’Malley, 5, and his mom Jill O’Malley, waited patiently for Kate to make her appearance.

“I think she’s not going to see (her shadow), because of the weather,” Aiden said, adding that he’d prefer that she did. “I want more winter because last year, we didn’t get snow. And I like snow.”

After student Erin Day, 8, read a poem about groundhogs and Mayor Patrick Mang and other village officials were introduced, KVIS President Melissa Foster led the crowd in a chant to wake Kate and summon her out of her specially made “groundhog habitat” for a prediction.

And right on cue, Kenmore Kate — a groundhog of unusual size — emerged and selected one of two scrolls, which Mang read and then declared that Kate, “seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators,” did not see her shadow ... and that spring was right around the corner.

Layla Dio, 5, and her little sister Quinn were pleased with the prediction.

“I wanted spring,” Layla said, “because I want to swim in my grandma’s pool.”

After the main event, many of the watchers trooped into the Municipal Building for photos with Kate.

The famed Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania and, more locally, Dunkirk Dave, both also predicted an early spring.

Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included temperatures well below freezing as well as record warmth, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic, Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn’t see his shadow.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 on Gobbler’s Knob in west-central Pennsylvania, winter will last six more weeks. But if he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.

The prediction is made during a ceremony overseen by a group called the Inner Circle. Members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.