Official State Groundhog Says Spring Is Coming
An early spring may be on its way, according to Connecticut Chuckles IX.
The state's official groundhog gave his prediction, at the Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester on Groundhog Day on Feb 2.
The snow filled morning didn't stop the public from coming to the Lutz before dawn to learn the fate of warmer weather. Lutz board members, town officials, and families all were pleased with the good news of the Lutz's newest groundhog not seeing his shadow.
"I'm glad that people were able to join us. I think they wanted to meet Chuckles IX in person," said Lutz Children's Museum Executive Director Bob Eckert. "This can help us get through the dark days of winter. It's just a fun, cheerful event in the middle of winter."
The Lutz has housed the official state groundhog for decades.
The event opened with Town Troubadour Dan Thompson singing about the state's greatest groundhog prognosticator.
Rep. Jeff Currey presented an official statement on behalf of Gov. Dannel Malloy, declaring Feb. 2 Groundhog Day in the state.
Chuckles IX is came to the museum about nine months ago. Former Manchester Mayor, now Superior Court Judge, Leo Diana swore Chuckles IX in to his new role to make it official.
"It's his first prediction, and I hope it's true. I want to ride my bike soon," said Lutz board member Memo Alejandro.
Mayor Jay Moran acted as the official translator for Chuckles IX. The mayor of Manchester is the only person around who can speak "groundhog."
"I hear it before everyone else. I kind of got a briefing this morning," Moran said. "It's great to be among these young children having a good time, enjoying this event and all the events we get here at the Lutz Museum."
Diana also attained his ability to speak groundhog from his tenure as mayor, Eckert said.
While Moran had a good time meeting Chuckles IX and interacting with the crowd, a nervous Chuckles IX gave him a surprise.
"I had to move fast. May have to get my suit dry cleaned. I think everyone got a kick out of that," Moran said.
Before beginning his career in meteorology in Manchester, Chuckles IX received care from Meigs Point Nature Center, in Madison. The 6-year-old groundhog was injured and lost an eye after an altercation with a larger animal.
Eckert said that the museum's focus is always on educating children through art, history, and science.
"The animals are just a part of our science program," Eckert said. "We can teach kids about natural habitats, animal protection, diets, and much more."
Learn more about the Lutz Children's Museum at www.lutzmuseum.org.