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Woollybear Festival

The Woollybear Festival – Celebrates 44 years of entertainment.

Mr Dick Goddard has announced that the 2016 Woollybear Festival will be held

Sunday, October 2nd in beautiful downtown Vermilion!!!

2016 WB date flier

Woollybear 500 Race, King & Queen Woollybear Costume and Woollybear Animal Look-A-Like Contest 

Registration is from 8am-10am behind the main stage.  Corner of Ohio Street and Main Street.



2016 Woollybear Festival Schedule of Events



Click below for printable schedule of events



Woollybear Festival & Parade
The Woollybear Festival is the largest one day festival in the state of Ohio. Fox 8 Meteorologist Dick Goddard hosts the fun-filled events when the 44th Annual Woollybear Parade & Festival takes over Vermilion, Ohio on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

History Of Woollybear

The Woollybear wackiness all started more than three decades ago. Northeast Ohio TV weatherman Dick Goddard of Fox8 TV in Cleveland talked with some friends and co-workers about his idea of a celebration built around using the woollybear to forecast what kind of winter is ahead.
In 1972 the newly-elected officers of the Parent Teachers Association at the Firelands-Florence Township Elementary School in the tiny community of Birmingham in Erie County were looking around for a vehicle to raise funds. They heard about Goddard’s idea of a Woollybear Festival. They contacted him and offered to stage the festival with his help.
The first Woollybear Festival was held in Birmingham and attracted perhaps 2,000 people. The parade was short—just the Firelands High School Band, some boy scouts and the local fire department, along with personalities from TV8—and they decided to go around the parade route twice, just to make it look longer.
After eight years in Birmingham, the crowd at the event had grown to an estimated 15,000 and was causing gridlock on the highways into the tiny community, so it was decided to move it to a larger city.
Thirteen towns and cities around northern Ohio expressed interest in hosting the ever-growing family-oriented event.
Goddard and a committee of the original founders finally settled on the pretty resort city of Vermilion, only nine miles north of where the festival was born in Birmingham. And the rest is history…

Vermilion, Ohio’s FOX 8 Woollybear Parade

woollybear map

Click below for printable Woollybear Parade Map


Vermilion’s Woollybear Parade is one of the largest parades in the state of Ohio. It starts at 1:30 pm and lasts approximately 2 hours.  Please remember streets will close at 12:30pm so plan accordingly.  .

It features many radio and television personalities including Dick Goddard and the Fox8 News Team.
Parade participants include: Woollybear kids and pets, many marching bands with nearly 2,000 musicians radio and TV personalities vintage automobiles, floats animals, festival queens clowns and much more!
Parade heads east on Liberty Ave., starting at Grand St., then turns right on Sandusky St., then right onto South St., ending at Decatur St.

Woollybear Festival Area

wb map 2

There are two Woollybear Festival areas in the center of historic downtown Vermilion, Ohio. One is at Victory Park on Rt. 60 (S. Main St.) north of Ohio St. The second is in Exchange Park at the corner of Rt. 60 (N. Main St.) and Rt. 6 (Liberty Ave.). The Woollybear Festival areas consist of entertainment, food booths, craft booths, and merchant sales. Woollybear T-shirts, Woollybear sweatshirts, and Woollybear hats will be available at the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce stand. Various entertainers are at the main stage throughout the day. Parade commentary by Dick Goddard of Fox 8 occurs at the reviewing stand. See VermilionOhioNews.com for Woollybear Festival updates.

woollybear-festival-2010-1-m imagesbe923fc0b765db83 mr-g-big-chuck-and-lil-john-and-a-woollybear

Woollybear Festival Parkingwoollybear-shuttle-picTHREE (3) Shuttle locations

They will be parking and shuttling for $7 per car and that includes shuttle to and from festival:)

All have Handicap/stroller capability.

The locations are as follows:


  1. Vermilion Schools 5355 Sailorway Drive (Shuttles run 9a-5p)


  1. Pat O’Brien Chevrolet 2315 State Route 60 (Shuttles run 9a-7p)


  1. Pat O’Brien Chevrolet Parts 4545 Liberty Avenue (Shuttles run 9a-7p). This gives you options coming from either East or West of Vermilion. The buses will shuttle you to the festival area downtown.


Local non profit organizations benefit from the proceeds from the shuttle buses:

Prom to Dawn and Safe Harbor Animal Rescue in Vermilion.

*Remember roads close at 12:30pm so please plan on coming early and staying until the end…it is going to be a beautiful day!


Click below for printable Woollybear Bus Shuttle information


World’s Greatest Kids Race

This free event is a series of races for kids age 1-12. Events range from 5 yards (for 1 year old crawlers) to 550 yards (for 12 year olds). The races are held at the Vermilion High School track on Sailorway Drive. Registration begins at 8 am. Races are held from 9 am – 11 am. The event is sponsored by the Vermilion YMCA. For more details, see www.vermilionymca.com.

Queen’s Festival Breakfast

Miss Vermilion and her court host area queens and festival royalty at a breakfast prior to the parade. Letters of invitation were sent to participants with details on this event. The location of the breakfast is German’s Villa, 3330 Liberty Ave. (on Rt. 6, ½ mile west of Sunnyside Rd.). After the breakfast, the Vermilion Police will escort the queens in their parade cars or floats, as a group, from German’s Villa to the parade line-up. No other cars will be allowed in the police escort. Families and friends of queens must park in public parking.

Woollybear Restrooms

Restrooms are located throughout the downtown area. Numerous temporary restrooms are placed at the south side of Victory Park, on Ohio St. between Main St. and Exchange St. A permanent restroom facility is in the red building at Exchange Park at the northeast corner of Liberty Ave. and Main St. Two temporary restrooms are in front of the police station at the corner of Liberty Ave. and Decatur St. A temporary restroom is placed on Liberty Ave. west of Decatur St.

Discover Vermilion, Ohio


If the excitement of the Woollybear Festival isn’t enough then while you’re in Vermilion be sure to stroll around town and visit it’s quaint shops and stores offering everything from home-made chocolates to candles. There’s even an old fashioned soda fountain in downtown Vermilion. One of the major attractions of the town is the Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Founded to preserve and interpret the maritime history of the Great Lakes you can stand at the helm of a real lake ore freighter, see artifacts from famed shipwrecks in the lakes, and surround yourself with the history of everything from the Battle of Lake Erie to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Another unique feature of Vermilion is “The Lagoons” a prestigious residential area across the river from downtown. To get a water-level view of the town and the lagoons The Mystic Belle, a tiny sternwheeler cruise boat, will be operating during the Woollybear Festival taking visitors on rides up and down the Vermilion River.

Woollybear Facts

The common moth Pyrrharctia isabella is known by different common names at its two main life stages. The adult is the Isabella tiger moth and the larva is called the banded woolly bear. The larvae of many species of Arctiid moths are called “woolly bears” (“wooly bears”, “woollybears”) because of their long, thick, furlike setae. This species is black at both ends with a band of coppery red in the middle. The adult moth is dull yellow to orange with a robust, furry thorax and small head. Its wings have sparse black spotting and the proximal segments on its first pair of legs are bright reddish-orange. The banded woolly bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form. It survives winter freezes by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. Once the weather warms, the larva devours all the grass and weeds it can, pupates, and becomes an adult, which then lives through the summer. It is the larvae of this species which are the subject of common folklore, which has it that the forthcoming severity of a winter can be predicted by the amount of black on the caterpillar; this is the most familiar woolly bear in North America. The setae of the woolly bear are not urticant, but they will play dead if picked up or disturbed.

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