In the aftermath of one of the biggest snowstorms in over a century, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered in Reese Park in Malverne on Tuesday, waiting for the village's resident groundhog, Malverne Mel, to give his 21st annual weather prognostication.
Malverne Mayor Patti McDonald, standing on a platform so the crowd could see her and Mel, held up a horn in preparation for the big event. "To keep me safe, really, I have this horn, and Mel is going to speak into this," said McDonald. The mayor, who allowed the professional groundhog handler to show Mel to the crowd, made a wise decision after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accidentally dropped the city's groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, two years ago. De Blasio reported that he would be skipping the city's groundhog ceremony this year.
After whispering into the other end of her horn, Mel confided to the mayor that he did not see his shadow, prognosticating that our area will experience an early spring.
Competing area groundhogs, including Holtsville Hal, Punxsutawney Phil, and Staten Island Chuck, also made the same prediction.
After the ceremony, marmot fans headed to Crossroads Farm at Grossmann's, where a poster contest, breakfast, and a petting zoo continued the morning's festivities.