Vernon's Allan Brooks Nature Centre to hold inaugural Groundhog Day celebration Feb. 2

Okie set to forecast spring

The Okanagan has a new weather forecaster – and he's buck-toothed and covered in fur.

Okanagan Okie will be the star attraction at a classic Groundhog Day celebration at Vernon's Allan Brooks Nature Centre on Feb. 2.

Manager Cheryl Hood says while Groundhog Day will be forever immortalized in the Bill Murray movie of the same name, there is no record of celebrations taking place in B.C.

“It's time for new traditions and celebrations – now more than ever before – and ABNC is eager to showcase one of our local furry friends, Okanagan Okie the yellow-bellied marmot,” says Hood.

It’s true that Okie is a marmot, but did you know that groundhogs are a type of marmot?

“It’s also true is that marmots and groundhogs hibernate in the winter, so they won’t actually be seen until April or March, but our friend Okanagan Okie is special and he knows he has a job to do. So, he’ll be ready and waiting to provide you with the famous proclamation.”

If Okie emerges from his burrow on Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, that portends another six weeks of winter.

But, if he doesn't see his shadow, spring is said to be coming early.

The inaugural Groundhog Day celebration will take place at 10 a.m.

A bonfire and hot chocolate will be offered after Okie makes his prediction.

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