Family travels all the way from Utah to see French Creek Freddie

UPSHUR COUNTY, Wv. It's the 41st annual Groundhog Day celebration and people say that they go every year. It's a big event for the community, but one family traveled all the way from Utah just to see Freddie.

"It was who traveled the furthest and we won because we traveled from Utah" says the oldest daughter of the Nagel family about a certificate they won at the celebration.

"They said if you're in West Virginia this is one of the things that you need to come and do, so they said "Come out and do the Groundhog festival," and we got to get free hot chocolate, free cookies, and some papers for the kids, so it's been fun" says Heather Nagel.

Leading up to French Creek Freddie's prediction, the West Virginia State Wildlife Center got the crowd excited by yelling, "What's today?" and everyone responds, "Groundhog Day."

"It's really grown into a really big community event for us every year, one that we really look forward to and in spite of the 11 degree temperatures, we still had a pretty good turnout today, so we really appreciate the support" says Wildlife Biologist for the West Virginia State Wildlife Center Tyler Evans.

"It's very community minded, it's a family event. Barring the weather, it's a good opportunity for kids to get outside, it's also classroom learning" says Lewis County resident Maryellen Bragg.

"Probably because it's an annual celebration in our family and it lets us have a lot of time together" adds Randolph County student Jackson Shepherd.

French Creek Freddie saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter and some people say they actually believe him.

"Why I think so, I don't know. I just do" says Shepherd.

"I believe that he's been pretty accurate the last six or eight or ten years; however, I'm hoping this year I won't be believing in him because I'm hoping that we're going to be still in for an early spring, but time will tell" says Evans.

The day finished off with live music, snacks, and some activity sheets for the kids.