For the seventh year in a row, Groundhog Day will be celebrated in Brevard, North Carolina as “White Squirrel Day.” However, unlike previous years, the popular downtown event that typically draws hundreds of excited on-lookers, is being replaced by a virtual-only online event due to the COVID pandemic. On February 2, 2021, Brevard’s beloved ambassador white squirrel, Pisgah Pete, will once again take the helm at the city’s annual festivities, but this year, his appearance will be live-streamed from a secret location in Brevard.
Each year, Pisgah Pete takes on his world-famous weather-prognosticating counterpart, Punxsutawney Phil, by not only predicting whether there will be six more weeks of winter, but also the winner of the upcoming Super Bowl. Super Bowl LV is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Pisgah Pete has an 83% success rate in successfully predicting the winner of the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy each year.
Last year, the “White Squirrel Day” event was held at Mayberry’s restaurant in Brevard and attracted hundreds of on-lookers who excitedly watched Pisgah Pete make his annual predictions. This year, Pisgah Pete fans will be able to watch Pete execute his White Squirrel Day duties online from the comfort of their own homes by tuning into the livestream on the “I Love Brevard” blog and White Squirrel Institute web sites.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to find a way for Pisgah Pete to safely fulfill his “White Squirrel Day” duties this year despite the pandemic,” said Brevard Mayor Jimmy Harris. “Once again, the eyes of the world will be on Brevard.”
As in past years, Brevard Mayor Jimmy Harris will be on-hand to officially proclaim the day “White Squirrel Day.” And WSQL radio personality, Don Debias, will assume the role of Master of Ceremonies. In addition, Brevard’s “White Squirrel” radio station WSQL will broadcast the event live (102.1 FM, 1240 AM).
The annual event is a fundraiser for The White Squirrel Institute, a local non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to local licensed wildlife rehabilitators who rescue and save local wildlife (including squirrels, birds, possums, and more). Monies are raised through personal donations and an “Adopt a White Squirrel” program, where for $25, participants receive a white squirrel adoption certificate, the ability to name their rescued squirrel, and the satisfaction of helping local wildlife.
Under the guidance of Director Katy Rosenberg, The White Squirrel Institute has seen a significant increase in the number white squirrel adoptions since the fund-raising effort began in 2018. “Even in the last year despite the COVID pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in the number of white squirrel adoptions, I’m happy to say,” said Rosenberg. “Every donation and every white squirrel adoption helps support the work of our great local wildlife rehabilitators.” Donations and adoptions can also be made at whitesquirrelinstitute.org.