Folklore will be at the forefront of spring forecasts on Feb. 2.
And two of Long Island’s groundhogs will have their day.
Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal headline separate Groundhog Day events to celebrate the annual winter ritual where the rodent predicts the arrival of spring. Organizers expect a couple hundred spectators at each event.
As the story goes, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will arrive early; if it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter persists for six more weeks.
“After the long winter months, Groundhog Day is the perfect opportunity for residents to come together in an outdoor setting with the hope that an early spring is on its way,” says Malverne Mayor Patricia Ann Norris McDonald, who has attended the event since its inception.
Malverne Mel — Long Island’s first furry forecaster — reports for duty at 7 a.m. for his 22nd year in the starring role. He’ll make his prediction to the toe-tapping music of Banjo Rascals, who’ll perform live at the event. McDonald will relay Mel’s prediction.
Afterward, guests can visit a petting zoo and enjoy a light breakfast at Crossroads Farm at 480 Hempstead Ave. in Malverne.
WHEN | WHERE 7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at the gazebo at Reese Park, Church Street, Malverne
INFO 516-599-1200, ext. 115, malvernevillage.org
He’s no novice when it comes to seeing shadows: He’s been the town’s go-to groundhog for the past 21 years.
“Our annual Groundhog Day celebration is an enjoyable tradition for many local families who brave the cold to hear Holtsville Hal’s prognostication,” said Brookhaven highway superintendent Daniel Losquadro. “While I’m always hopeful Hal will not see his shadow, either way it is a much-anticipated event each year in Brookhaven Town.”
Guests are encouraged to arrive early. Hal will share the spotlight with more than 100 animals from the Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center, where the event takes place. After he makes his predictions around 7:25 a.m., visitors are invited to stick around for free hot chocolate and to roam the grounds at no cost.
WHEN | WHERE 7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center, 249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville
INFO 631-758-9664, brookhaven.org