Solomon Perera, 11, of Snohomish, puckers up and gives Snohomish Slew, a bullfrog, a kiss at Snohomish’s 13th Annual Groundfrog Day on Saturday. Snohomish Slew predicted an early spring will come this year to the region. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Solomon Perera, 11, of Snohomish, puckers up and gives Snohomish Slew, a bullfrog, a kiss at Snohomish’s 13th Annual Groundfrog Day on Saturday. Snohomish Slew predicted an early spring will come this year to the region. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Snohomish brings out its bullfrog, hoping for sign of spring

Snohomish Slew was paraded downtown and handed out kisses on a blustery winter day.

SNOHOMISH — For a bullfrog, he is revered by his town.

He was paraded down the street on Saturday, escorted by Snohomish High School athletes in letterman jackets and dark sunglasses. People lined up to give the frog a kiss.

Every year, he is the bearer of important news.

People wait outside in the cold and wind in anticipation. They listen for a croak or a ribbit, meaning spring is on the way.

Frogs have a natural instinct when it comes to predicting the season. They wake from a winter slumber and tend to get chatty. Their knowledge of Pacific Northwest weather is more reputable than a well-known Pennsylvanian groundhog, said Pam Schilaty, manager of the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce. She helped coordinate what the town calls GroundFrog Day.

“They don’t need no stinkin’ shadow,” she said.

On Saturday, a bullfrog named Snohomish Slew promised the return of warm, showery days.

Sofia Hamner-De Paula was relieved. The 7-year-old was dressed in a puffy, green jacket and clutched a cup of hot chocolate. She is accustomed to the weather in Argentina. Sofia and her family were in Snohomish for a visit.

Her mother, Valeria De Paula, heard about the 13th annual GroundFrog Day. They couldn’t miss it.

Despite the blustery wind, they joined a couple dozen people around a gazebo downtown. They danced along to music in the street. A long line formed in front of a booth that specialized in balloon animals. Sofia asked for a pink bunny. Her cousin, Katherine, got a banana tree.

The cousins crowded around Snohomish Slew to get a closer look. They laughed as the frog kissed a little girl on the cheek.

“Sometimes the simple things that might sound a little silly are what give a community its identity,” De Paula said.

Caitlin Tompkins:425-339-3192;

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