Woolly Worm Festival kicks off in Beattyville

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

BEATTYVILLE, Ky (WYMT) - The cold temperatures Friday did not scare anyone away from the Woolly Worm Festival in Beattyville.

Organizers said the event is based in local folklore and even a little bit of weather forecasting.

Bob Smith has helped with the festival for years and said its theme, the woolly worm, is unique.

"The woolly worm sells. There are many things you can do with him. When people start these festivals you do not want to pick something dull and boring, you want to see something that will capture the public's imagination," said Smith.

Smith said in their case, racing worms up a string does just that.

"We have had governors, senators, congressman down here racing woolly worms. You know, people love it. The kids love it," said Smith.

One of those people is Loretta Kahl, whose prize worm won the first round of racing Friday.

She said her key to success was having the winning combination of an adorable child cheering her on and a little sunshine.

"It was starting to get warm and then I guess the baby just cheered it on and we got it to go," said Kahl.

Local artist John Powell sells paintings at the festival.

"Small towns do not have a lot going on for them and it brings everybody and curiosity seekers come from all over to see what we like and what we do," said Powell.

He said besides just the fun, the woolly worm and all it represents, are good for the community.

"Small communities are dying and this helps keep us alive," said Powell.

But for many attendees, the most important thing to come from the event is learning how harsh winter will be, all from a little worm.

"They bring the winner to me and I look at him and read his bands and he is the official weather forecaster for winter. We reason the faster he goes, the more likely he is looking for some place to whole up," said Smith.

The festival runs through Sunday.

Smith said so far, the worms are predicting a mild winter.

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