ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – Concord Charlie is calling for an early spring. Guests of the 42nd annual Groundhog Day Breakfast at Concord University eagerly waited to hear Charlie’s prediction.
According to tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow on the morning of Feb 2, then six more weeks of winter will come, if he doesn’t see his shadow, then spring will come early.
President of Concord University Dr. Kendra Boggess is the only one who can speak with Charlie to relay his message.
Boggess couldn’t be at the breakfast this year, but did manage to tell Vice President of Operations Dan Fitzpatrick what Charlie saw.
“Charlie in fact has not seen his shadow,” Fitzpatrick said. “Charlie is predicting an early spring.”
The Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast is a tradition started in 1978.
Each year features a Grand Groundhog Watcher, someone who shows huge support for the community. This year’s watcher was Stacey Hicks, the CEO of the Princeton Rescue Squad.
Hicks says he has a strong relationship with Concord. His mother worked as a cook at the University to support the family while he was growing up.
“It’s very special for me, Hicks said. “My mother was a cook here and raised us children by herself. So Concord has a special place in my heart.
The Concord Charlie tradition was originated by the late Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill. As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program at Concord, Hill started the Groundhog Day Breakfast as a means to celebrate Appalachian heritage.