A huge thing for Boone, North Carolina, is the Woolly Worm Festival. This festival has been held now for 41 years and it celebrates the magnificent creature, the Woolly Worm. The festival was started by Jim Morton when he saw a Woolly worm and was afraid to pick it up for fear it would sting him and so he placed a blade of grass in front of it. He realized that when a worm is in a moving mood, it will crawl up something rather than across something, and thus the festival was born. The race consists of a 3-foot nylon rope that the worm crawls up. When you are racing the worms, you want to make sure that you don't have a large one, for they don't enjoy climbing and you want to make it sure it is in a good mood because they are very moody creatures.
When you are a person who lives in Boone or a farmer who has crops, you may rely on the Woolly Worm to predict the weather that is to come. The Woolly Worm has a reputation of being able to predict the weather that is to come, including rain and snow. The legend of this worm is the wider the rust-colored segments are, the milder the winter will be and the more black shown on the worm represents the more severe a winter will be. So far, I, personally, have seen a lot of completely black Woolly Worms and so did my father when he was in Boone for the severe winter of 1993.
The Woolly Worm festival is a race where the winning worm gets to be used to predict the weather for the High County. The Woolly Worm is to us as the groundhog is to everyone else. This worm has an 80-85% accuracy rating, which is pretty good for a little worm that lives in the mountains. The worm has held this record of accuracy for the last 20 years.
The festival itself includes the worm race, over 160 food vendors and craft stands with handcrafted items, as well as rides for children, musicians and dance teams. The festival is a wonderful time for the whole family and it allows people from the High Country to share their traditions through dancing and music as well as their crafts. This is a space for a nice day out where people can come and enjoy themselves as well as play with and watch Woolly Worms race. Anyone can join the race and when you win, not only does your worm predict the weather, but you also win a prize.
In this event, you get to make a worm house, should you want to keep your worm after it races. This is an event where the traditions and culture of Appalachia and the High County can be shared with those who are surrounded by it every day or those visiting for Parent's Weekend. This event is held the third weekend in October which coincides with the Appalachian State University's Parent's Weekend. People from all over North Carolina and the United States come and visit their student or just enjoy Boone in Autumn. If you can, I would recommend venturing to the festival.