Garner Cleveland Record

In his debut, Snerd predicts an early Spring

Snerd the groundhog with his handler, Vinny Mammone.
Snerd the groundhog with his handler, Vinny Mammone. jalexander@newsobserver.com

Making his debut appearance, Snerd predicted Spring to come early this year.

German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

But Snerd doesn’t look for his shadow. He’s more of a modern weather predictor, he said in a statement through his handler, Vinny Mammone.

“I am a modern groundhog who embraces technology and forward thinking,” he said. “I have learned about weather patterns and doing research and then using critical thinking to come up with my prediction for spring’s arrival.”

Kindra Mammone said Snerd likes to use the almanac.

After raining most of the morning, the sun peeked from behind the clouds just in time for Snerd to whisper his prediction to Mayor Ronnie Williams. The event brought out nearly 100 children and their parents – some in rain jackets and boots – snapping photos of Snerd.

And as many in the crowd hoped for an early spring, Snerd didn’t disappoint.

Williams, dressed in a black top hat and black suit announced the prediction.

“Oh gosh,” Williams said as he listened to Snerd. “I, Snerd Ground Hog, as your official weather predicting groundhog for the town of Garner, proud apprentice to Master Mortimer, do hereby declare that Spring will be early this year.”

The crowd cheered.

Chikilah Hill of Garner brought her two children to the park to see Snerd. It was their first time. She said she was hoping for an early spring.

“Because spring is just a wonderful time of the year,” Hill said. “Things are fresher and new and warmer.”

Laura Martin, of Garner, said the same.

“They are ready to play outside and come to the park,” she said, pointing at her children.

After the announcement, children from several pre-K groups nudged and squeezed around a table to pet Snerd and his understudy Statler.

Mortimer, who recently retired, had been predicting the end of winter at events for the past eight years – the first three in Raleigh and the last five in Garner at White Deer Park. The Mammones say he’s enjoying his retirement at home but will still help out.

“He’s still giving advice to Snerd,” Vinny Mammone said. “He’ll continue to serve in an advisory capacity. And he’ll be eating nuts and bananas.”

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