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French Creek Freddie event canceled

FRENCH CREEK — Due to COVID-19 concerns, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that West Virginia’s Groundhog Day Celebration has been canceled.

The annual event that draws visitors from throughout the Mountain State is held annually on Feb. 2 at the state Wildlife Center in Upshur County. The state’s most famous animal and resident groundhog of the center, French Creek Freddie, traditionally makes a weather prediction for the upcoming months.

Early spring can be expected if Freddie doesn’t see his shadow, which is a result of overcast skies on Groundhog Day. If it is sunny, Freddie will see his shadow and return to his burrow for six more weeks of winter.

Freddie will still make his annual appearance and perform his duties despite no spectators attending the event. Officials will post the outcome of Freddie’s prediction by noon on Feb. 2 on the DNR’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Even though the celebration is canceled this year, the West Virginia Wildlife Center remains open to visitors seven days a week. Until March 31, hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free during this period. The center is home to nearly 30 different native and introduced animal species. For more information, visit wvdnr.gov/wildlife/wildlifecenter.shtm.

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