The Vermilion Fox 8 Woollybear Festival is the largest one day festival in the state of Ohio. Be a part of the fun as the annual Woollybear Parade & Festival takes over Vermilion, Ohio. The festival is held every year around October on a Sunday on which the Cleveland Browns have an away game.
Festivities begin at 9 am with music at the stage and the YMCA World’s Greatest Kid’s Footrace at Vermilion High School. The Caterpillar 500 Race starts at 10 am. A Kids & Pets Woollybear Costume Contest starts at 11 am. At 1:30 pm the spectacular parade features 20 marching bands, hundreds of animals, 2,000 marchers and many area personalities. Live entertainment takes place on stage at 3:45 pm. At 5 pm the Woollybear Race Finals and Woollybear Winter Prediction takes place.
Vermilion’s Woollybear Parade is one of the largest parades in the state of Ohio. It starts at 1:30 pm and lasts approximately 2 hours. It features many radio and television personalities. Parade participants include Woollybear kids and pets, riding hay wagons, over 20 marching bands with nearly 2,000 musicians, radio and TV personalities, vintage automobiles, animals, festival queens, floats, clowns and much more! The parade heads east on Liberty Ave., starting at Grand St., then turns right onto Sandusky St., then right onto South St., ending at S. Decatur St.
The woollybear wackiness all started more than three decades ago. Northeast Ohio TV weatherman Dick Goddard of Fox8 TV in Cleveland talked with some friends and co-workers about his idea of a celebration built around using the woollybear to forecast what kind of winter is ahead.
In 1972 the newly-elected officers of the Parent Teachers Association at the Firelands-Florence Township Elementary School in the tiny community of Birmingham in Erie County were looking around for a vehicle to raise funds. They heard about Goddard’s idea of a Woollybear Festival. They contacted him and offered to stage the festival with his help.
The first Woollybear Festival was held in Birmingham and attracted perhaps 2,000 people. The parade was short—just the Firelands High School Band, some boy scouts and the local fire department, along with personalities from TV8—and they decided to go around the parade route twice, just to make it look longer.
After eight years in Birmingham, the crowd at the event had grown to an estimated 15,000 and was causing gridlock on the highways into the tiny community, so it was decided to move it to a larger city. Thirteen towns and cities around northern Ohio expressed interest in hosting the ever-growing family-oriented event. Goddard and a committee of the original founders finally settled on the pretty resort city of Vermilion, only nine miles north of where the festival was born in Birmingham.
And the rest is history...
There are two Woollybear Festival areas in the center of historic downtown Vermilion, Ohio. One is at Victory Park on Rt. 60 (S. Main St.) north of Ohio St. The second is in Exchange Park at the corner of Rt. 60 (N. Main St.) and Rt. 6 (Liberty Ave.). The Woollybear Festival areas consist of entertainment, food booths, craft booths, and merchant sales. Woollybear T-shirts, Woollybear sweatshirts, and Woollybear hats will be available at the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce stand. Various entertainers are at the main stage throughout the day.
Restrooms are located throughout the downtown area. Numerous temporary restrooms are placed at the south side of Victory Park, on Ohio St. between Main St. and Exchange St. A permanent restroom facility is in the red building at Exchange Park at the northeast corner of Liberty Ave. and Main St.
Two temporary restrooms are in front of the police station at the corner of Liberty Ave. and Decatur St.
A temporary restroom is placed on Liberty Ave. west of Decatur St.
The main parking area for the Woollybear Festival is at Sailorway Middle School, located at Rt. 60 and Sailorway Dr. Shuttle buses provide transportation from the parking lot to the festival area, as well as back to the parking lot. The cost is $5.00 (including shuttle). Parking is also available on Rt. 6 (E. Liberty Ave.), east of the Vermilion River, at the South Shore Shopping Center. Parking for the handicapped is available at the old Post Office parking lot, at 5463 Liberty Ave. You must arrive early. Additional parking areas are located around town as fundraising projects for many organizations and clubs.
This free event is a series of races for kids age 1-12. Events range from 5 yards (for 1 year old crawlers) to 550 yards (for 12 year olds). The races are held at the Vermilion High School track on Sailorway Drive. Registration begins at 8 am. Races are held from 9 am – 11 am. The event is sponsored by the Vermilion YMCA.
Miss Vermilion and her court host area queens and festival royalty at a breakfast prior to the parade. Letters of invitation were sent to participants with details on this event. The location of the breakfast is German's Villa, 3330 Liberty Ave. (on Rt. 6, ½ mile west of Sunnyside Rd.). After the breakfast, the Vermilion Police will escort the queens in their parade cars or floats, as a group, from German's Villa to the parade line-up. No other cars will be allowed in the police escort. Families and friends of queens must park in public parking.
The common moth Pyrrharctia isabella is known by different common names at its two main life stages. The adult is the Isabella tiger moth and the larva is called the banded woolly bear. The larvae of many species of Arctiid moths are called "woolly bears" ("wooly bears", "woollybears") because of their long, thick, furlike setae. This species is black at both ends with a band of coppery red in the middle. The adult moth is dull yellow to orange with a robust, furry thorax and small head. Its wings have sparse black spotting and the proximal segments on its first pair of legs are bright reddish-orange.
The banded woolly bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form. It survives winter freezes by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. Once the weather warms, the larva devours all the grass and weeds it can, pupates, and becomes an adult, which then lives through the summer. It is the larvae of this species which are the subject of common folklore, which has it that the forthcoming severity of a winter can be predicted by the amount of black on the caterpillar; this is the most familiar woolly bear in North America.
The setae of the woolly bear are not urticant, but they will play dead if picked up or disturbed.
Brought to you by the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call (440) 967-4477, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vermilionohio.com.