While his fuzzy exterior and eclectic wardrobe may delight children and adults alike, Cochranton Carl is no mere toy and his sophistication doesn’t lie in his tuxedo alone.
Acting as his borough’s weather prognosticator and with a “highly sophisticated method of folklore,” Carl made his annual appearance Sunday afternoon in front of more than 40 local residents at Cochranton Area Public Library to make his prediction — six more weeks of winter.
The sharply-dressed plush groundhog was once again brought to the public eye by his primary handler, Peggy Massung, who assisted in issuing his yearly decree.
“He tells me that he has had a fitful rest and is very pleased to be in attendance today,” she read. “He realizes that this winter has been an unusually snowy time. Carl says to remember that we are officially halfway through the winter as of today.”
A gentle-hog to a fault, Carl even offered his congratulations to Punxsutawney Phil and the other national groundhogs on what he declared another successful Groundhog Day.
“I’m pretty disappointed about six more weeks of winter,” admitted Harmony Motter of Cochranton, who witnessed the ceremony. “But I think (Peggy) does a great job.”
The children in attendance may have been a bit too starstruck to interact with Carl as he hobnobbed with the crowd in his miniature top hat, but several of them quickly hopped on the Cochranton Carl bandwagon, donning groundhog hats and engaging in his favorite pastime — reading.
“(Carl) always advocates for the library,” Mussang said. “As an avid reader, he wants to encourage humans of all ages to use the library that is closest to them.”
And the library staff certainly appreciated his message, showing their support in return by wearing “Keep Calm and Wait For Carl” pins.
“Last year was my first Carl experience,” said Nadena Kramer, library director. “It’s great to see so many young kids and their families coming out to have fun like this. There’s no cost, just good old-fashioned fun.”
Cochranton residents in general are warming up to Carl more and more as the years go by, according to Mussang. After all, he’s been making weather predictions since about 2004.
“We thought we could share in the fun Punxsatawney has,” she said. “And he’ll keep it going. The crowd was extraordinary. People are getting used to Carl and his antics.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.