WOODBURN, Ind. (WANE) – The city of Woodburn celebrated the first-ever Woodburn Groundhog Festival this weekend. The event was held to raise money for the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Mayor Richard Hoeppner said the city is applying for a $400,000 grant to revitalize Main Street. Only two of those grants are given out in Indiana each year.
“If your downtown dies, your whole city dies,” Hoeppner said.
Residents in Woodburn gathered around the city hall Sunday morning to see if their groundhog ambassador, Woodburn Wild Charles Winchester, also known as Chuck, would see his shadow. Chuck did not see his shadow when he left his burrow. According to folklore, that means spring will come early in Woodburn!
Indiana Wild, a Woodburn business which inspires live animal conservation through outreach education programs, provided the groundhog for the festival.
“Chuck has been a great addition to our team of animal ambassadors. People see them around but never generally as close as what we can get him. Chuck’s popularity is growing every day, he even has his own Facebook page,” Beth Wood, Director of Indiana Wild, said.
Other activities during the Groundhog Festival included a chili cook-off and square dance on Saturday night and a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning.
“We’re getting a lot done here in Woodburn,” Hoeppner said.