Lil, left, Snohomish Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Keith, center, and Tad, right, pose for a photo during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Lil, left, Snohomish Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Keith, center, and Tad, right, pose for a photo during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Oh, croak! The GroundFrog forecast is six more weeks of winter

A coin-flip determined the “frognostication” at the annual GroundFrog Day event in Snohomish.

SNOHOMISH — Heads up. There will be six more weeks of rain.

That’s according to the flip of a coin at GroundFrog Day on Saturday. Tails would have meant a forecast of spring.

GroundFrog Day has been a Snohomish tradition since 2006 as the city’s version of groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to predict how long winter will last.

Instead of waiting to celebrate Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce established GroundFrog Day 18 years ago on the last Saturday in January. An amphibian was used to get a jump on if the gray gloom would end soon or endure.

What was once a big ribbiting event was small. During Saturday’s drizzle, about 30 people gathered on the lawn of the Carnegie building downtown.

A giant dime is tossed determing six more weeks of winter during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

A giant dime is tossed determing six more weeks of winter during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Tad and Lil, the mascots from the city’s summer festival Kla Ha Ya Days, declared the “frognostication,” as it is called.

Kla Ha Ya Days organizers will take over future GroundFrog Days from the chamber, which is moving in a direction other than festive frogs.

“It was time to move on from this event,” chamber director Nancy Keith said. “We have plans for a big nonprofit event during the holiday season.”

Bill Webster, Kla Ha Ya Days president, said GroundFrog Day will continue in a similar format under the festival’s management.

He came up with the coin-flip using a novelty oversized coin due to Saturday’s gray weather with showers and no chance of shadows.

“I happened to have a giant dime,” he said. “I have a 50-50 chance of getting it right.”

For many years, a real bullfrog named Snohomish Slew often would give the “frognostication” at events. If Slew croaked at the mic, expect spring soon. No croak meant six more weeks of winter.

Snohomish Slew was a celebrity.

Rubber frogs were handed out during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Rubber frogs were handed out during the final annual GroundFrog Day event at the Carnegie building on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

In 2009, the bullfrog arrived in a gravel truck, and Girl Scouts escorted him to the picnic table under the gazebo to the gathering of 500.

In 2014, the star frog came by fire truck to the event. Many attending had their faces painted with frogs or carried stuffed amphibians.

In 2018, Snohomish Slew was paraded down the street, escorted by Snohomish High School athletes in letter jackets and dark sunglasses. People lined up to kiss him.

Those events featured Snohomish Slew’s handler Thayer Cueter, the Edmonds “Frog Lady,” who still drives around the county in a green VW van frog-mobile dedicated to the rescue of unwanted amphibians and reptiles.

Cueter and her collection of over 10,000 frog items were featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Reality Shock!” 2014 edition. She runs the nonprofit foundation, Frogs & Friends Mobile Services, that does outreach programs and camps and the Pacific NW Turtle and Tortoise Rescue.

Bull frogs don’t live forever, Cueter said. There were actually several different Slews over the years in Snohomish.

She did not attend GroundFrog Day events in recent years.

Slew, as he is known these days, is used for educational purposes, along with a lady frog.

“We are now on Slew No. 4 and his now girlfriend partner in crime,” Cueter said.

She has 18 live frogs and 66 turtles in her rescue. She also has over 20,000 frog collectibles.

“I’m looking for a museum site,” she said.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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