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White squirrel in Brevard, NC.

North Carolina town promotes weather forecasting white squirrel

A distant kin to Punxsutawney Phil and other weather forecasting wildlife, Pisgah Polly, Brevard, North Carolina's white squirrel mascot, will prognosticate the summer's length by either devouring or burying native hickory nuts. The event is set for 12:30 pm Sunday, May 30 at the height of Brevard's First Annual White Squirrel Festival, with the official pronouncement coming from town mayor Jimmy Harris. The marginally scientific forecast highlights a two-day festival being held in honor of the unique white variant of the eastern grey squirrel.

The white squirrels first appeared in Brevard in the 1950s, with some local residents claiming the squirrels were runaway pets and others saying they originated from a circus in Florida. According to Professor Bob Glesener of Brevard College, who counts the squirrels annually, they now represent 26% of the town's squirrel population.

Pisgah Polly, named after the nearby national forest surrounding Brevard, will be available for viewing. Based on regional folklore, if Polly eats the nuts, the summer will last longer; but if she chooses instead to bury and store them, then it will be a short summer and an early, cold fall.

In addition to Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil, Georgia hosts General Lee, a weather seer groundhog, Oregon looks to a herd of wild goats on Mt. Nebo, and Wisconsin stakes it all on their weather groundhog, "Jimmy."

2 W. Main St., Brevard, NC
About 40 minutes southwest of Asheville, NC, at intersection of Hwy 64 and 276, not far from entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
Last weekend May Sa 10am - 10 pm, Su Noon - 10 pm (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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