Punxsutawney who? Snohomish frog knows weather

SNOHOMISH — New Jersey gave us Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, the Jonas Brothers and, apparently, a frog that can predict the weather.

A hibernating bullfrog, shipped frozen to Snohomish from the Garden State, is now unthawing, in preparation for GroundFrog Day.

That’s the city’s annual to-do where a frog nicknamed Snohomish Slew croaks out a prediction on how long winter will last.

“We get the jump on Punxsutawney,” said Daryl Bertholet, a GroundFrog Day organizer.

So far, all five previous Slews have unhibernated and defrosted right on time. Last year’s frog predicted several weeks of “foggy and boggy.”

With the winter we’re having, Bertholet said, “he may predict locusts.”

Slew will impart a prediction around 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Ferguson Park. A family-friendly expo runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The amphibian of honor will arrive in the back of a sand-and-gravel truck festooned with stuffed frogs and other green decor. At the park, Slew’s handlers work with sages — frog whisperers — who can interpret its croaks.

Mayor Randy Hamlin and his wife, Beth, will preside over the event wearing crowns. Tim Noah from the Thumbnail Theater has penned a frog song.

Organizers will recount the legend of Slew: How he traveled across the country in search of a home, how animals pointed the way toward a place to settle down, to perhaps raise a thousand or two polliwogs in beautiful, soggy Snohomish.

The legend skips the bit about FedEx, a freezer and two spare frogs.

It’s not meteorological skills but looks that gets a frog the job, Bertholet said.

The fatter and greener, the better.

“We want a robust frog,” he said. “It’s cold outside.”

Why does Slew hail from New Jersey? Could he be mixed up in the frog mafia?

“Slew could be the God-frogger,” Bertholet mused.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.

Frognosticator

GroundFrog Day is set from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ferguson Park’s National Guard Armory Building, 1330 Ferguson Park Road, Snohomish. Slew’s prediction is around 11:30 a.m.

More details are at 360-568-2526 and www.cityofsnohomish.com.

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