WINTHROP — Under partly-sunny skies and before a crowd of winter sports fans, Wilbur the Winthrop Whistlepig proclaimed on Saturday that the end of winter is here.
Some cheered, but more boos erupted from the crowd at Winthrop’s trailhead after school Superintendent Mark Wenzel read the rhymed proclamation which ended, “The climes are chilly, and snow is all over. But I smell the scent of a faint spring clover. I predict that winter is over!”
He said 38 observers took part in tracking Wilbur on Saturday.
It was Winthrop’s third year to host a Groundhog Day event, complete with a stuffed marmot called “Wilbur,” who predicts winter’s future in the Methow Valley, instead of relying on predictions of the nationally-known Punxsutawney Phil.
The event included a ski tour led by local naturalists, followed by refreshments and a bon fire at the Winthrop Town Trailhead.
Last year, he predicted six more weeks of winter. This year, after reading the proclamation, Wenzel told the crowd who gathered after a morning of beautiful cross country skiing, “I am but the messenger.”