Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Secret of Fenwick Flossie

To my delight, one of my responsibilities as Mayor has been to assist with Pelham’s Annual Groundhog Day event and help greet Fenwick Flossie.

We all know about Wiarton Willy. As the website dedicated to him states: “On February 2nd, just after 8:00 AM, Canada's groundhog soothsayer, the great Wiarton Willie, emerges from hibernation in his burrow long enough to announce to the world, his weather report. Discovered in 1956, he has consistently delivered accurate predictions on the remaining course of winter.”

So famous has Wiarton Willie become that in 1995 the Town erected a beautiful white limestone statue called “Willie Emerging.” The statue has become a ‘must see’ for tourists travelling in the Bruce Peninsula any time of year.

And the Annual Wiarton Willie Festival occurred this past weekend. Voted the Most Popular Event in Ontario in 2000, the festival features a parade, a Monte Carlo night, a dart tournament, a special hockey game, a pizza eating contest, and the Groundhog Ball.

What about the other spring prognosticator? I haven’t forgotten about Punxsutawney Phil. His Pennsylvania website states that Phil “is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. The others are just impostors.”

Since the late 1800’s, Phil has made his prediction at 7:25 AM. Have you send the Hollywood movie starring Bill Murray, entitled Groundhog Day, which focuses on the event?

But, what about Fenwick Flossie? Are not her predictions at 10:30 AM equally as valid? Where is her world-wide fame, her website, her TV crews?

You see, each year Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 students from E.W. Farr, St. Ann schools participate in Groundhog Day at Centennial Park. While waiting for Flossie to rouse, the Fenwick Lions award colouring contest prizes. Then, the students cheer loudly and enthusiastically to wake-up Flossie from her long winter nap; she was last seen in the Santa Claus parade in early December. After Flossie makes her weather prediction, the Fenwick Lions treat the children and their teachers to cookies and hot chocolate.

As a former member of the Fenwick Lions, I know that the event is not about fame, predictions, the tourist trade or economic spin-offs.

In the end, it’s all about good fun for kids in the community. That’s the real secret of Fenwick Flossie.

I hope you will agree that it is special events like this one, organized by caring, community-minded volunteers, that makes our Town the best in Niagara!