SHUBENACADIE – A collective groan rippled through the huge crowd in the Shubencadie Provincial Wildlife Park on Saturday morning when its resident winter fortune teller predicted lots more winter.
An estimated 600 people arrived at the wildlife park before 8 a.m. on Saturday to listen to Shubie Sam's winter prediction. Most people were not happy with what he said. The rodent saw his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter.
Nine-year-old Gabi Wheeldon of Lower Onslow found the entire experience – which included a bagpiper, town crier and singing a Groundhog Day song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game - very unique and a bit bizarre.
“The groundhog is cute … (but) it’s kind of weird all these people come to hear weather predicted by an animal,” giggled the youngster, whose family is originally from England and has only been in Colchester County for about a year and a half.
When asked if Wheeldon believed Shubie Sam’s prediction, she emphatically replied, “No!”
It was also the first time Truro’s Jeff Whitehead and five-year-old son Jonah attended the Groundhog Day festivities.
“I wanted to find out if there is more winter weather … I’m happy to get it to go out on the snowmobile,” said Jeff.
Jonah wasn’t as enthused with the weather report, however, he was thrilled with the experience.
“We got to videotape (Shubie Sam) and it was the first time seeing him,” said Jonah.
Stewiacke Mayor Wendy Robinson said the winter forecast was “bad news” but felt it was great so many people attended the event.
“It’s one of three in North America. It needs to be celebrated. I’m sure he’s very accurate,” said Robinson.
The park’s head interpreter, Stephanie Patriquin, told the Truro Daily News the rodent is “50 per cent” accurate with his predictions. She was pleased so many people participated in the annual event, which also included face painting, snowshoeing, crafts and games and free entrance to the park.
Shubie Sam’s prediction didn’t match that of his fellow furry forecasters. Wiarton Willie, in Ontario, didn't see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow on Groundhog Day either.