Groundhog Festival kicks off


ROCK CAVE—Festivities kicked off Friday afternoon for the 4th Annual Groundhog Festival in Rock Cave with critter stew, an

open mic event and an appearance by French Creek Freddie’s Mascot.

Upshur County Convention and Visitors Executive Director Laura Meadows was more than happy to be at the opening ceremonies.

“I am happy to be here,” Meadows said. “It’s always fun, and great to see what’s going on.”

She said the groundhog festival is a fun and really meaningful event.

“I am so fortunate to live here in Upshur County, to be able to raise my family here,” she said.

“This is the 25th anniversary of the ground ‘hog’ sausage sale,” she added. “It brings notoriety to this area and the county.”

As of Friday afternoon, Glen Hawkins has prepared five tons of his famous ground “hog” sausage for sale. According to Glen, he sells more every year.

Judy Channel, co-chair of this year’s event, is equally excited to part of things.

“I am so honored to be accepted into the festival,” Channel said. “I’ve worked at the wildlife center for 10 years.”

Channel noted the wildlife center was working on an event in July to help raise funds to support the groundhog festi- val.

On July 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. there will be a “Sum- mer Celebration” at the West Virginia Wildlife Center that will include a

car show, 3k groundhog run and other warm weather activities for the adults and kids alike.

“It’s really exciting stuff,” Channel said.

“I hope you’ll join us for some events,” she said.

Congressman Alex Mooney was an invited guest but due to his schedule in Washington was unable to attend this year’s event.

Rhett Dusenbury, a spokes-man for Congressman Mooney was in attendance and ex-plained Congressman Mooney had wanted to attend but was unable to do so.

“Congressman Mooney sends his best wishes,” Dusenbury said.

He read from a proclamation signed by Congressman Mooney and delivered to event organizers for display during the week’s activities.

The proclamation said in part “Thank you for the opportunity to attend this year’s 4th Annual Groundhog Festival, celebrating our local expert weather forecaster French Creek Freddie from the West Virginia Wildlife Center. I regret I cannot be with you today, but I send my best wishes for a successful gathering. Thank you for your dedication to promoting this West Virginia celebrity, who not only gives West Virginia national notoriety, but has also helped stimulate the local economy in the off season of an often harsh winter month. The fact is undeniable that due to French Creek Freddie’s popularity, the Rock Cave IGA has been able to expose many West Virginians and others to the world-famous ‘Ground Hog Sausage’ one of our local delicacies.”

The festival continues all week and will culminate with French Creek Freddie’s weather prediction at 10 a.m. at the wildlife center.

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