For Release: Jan. 25, 2022

FRENCH CREEK, WV — West Virginia’s Groundhog Day celebration will be a milestone event for French Creek Freddie, who will make his 45th weather forecast during a public event at the State Wildlife Center on Feb. 2.

The family friendly event is free to attend and gates will open at 8:30 a.m. Groundhog Day activities will officially start at the amphitheater at 9:30 a.m. There will be live music performed by the French Creek Elementary School Choir, free hot chocolate and cookies, special activities and opportunities to tour the Wildlife Center, which features nearly 30 different species of West Virginia mammals, birds and reptiles. The Wildlife Center’s ninth annual Woodchuckin’ Contest will start at 10:30 a.m.

“We are very excited to welcome our guests, many of whom make the trip to French Creek each February,” said Trevor Moore, Wildlife Biologist at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.

French Creek Freddie, will emerge from his den at 10 a.m. to provide his weather forecast. If it’s sunny and Freddie sees his shadow, he’ll return to his burrow to weather six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy and his shadow isn’t visible, Freddie will predict an early spring.

About the West Virginia State Wildlife Center
The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a modern zoological facility operated by the WVDNR’s Wildlife Resources Section where guests can see native and introduced wildlife in a natural wooded setting. The facility, located in Upshur County, is home to a variety of native and introduced wildlife species, such as black bear, bobcat, elk, gray wolf, bison and mountain lion. Wildlife can be viewed along a wheelchair-accessible 1.25-mile trail that includes interpretive signs about each animal’s history, biology and relationship with humans.

Directions to the Wildlife Center
From I-79 North, take Exit 99 and follow US-48/US-33 East for 12 miles to Buckhannon, and follow WV-20 South for 12 miles. From I-79 South, take Exit 67 at Flatwoods and follow US-19/WV-4 North approximately 30 miles to Rock Cave (Be sure to bear right to stay on WV-4 North at the US-19/WV-4 Junction). From Rock Cave, follow WV-20 North for 2 miles to the Wildlife Center.

For more information about the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, visit