Bundled up in heavy coats and sipping hot chocolate, throngs of people gathered in Malverne Saturday morning anxious to know if they'd soon receive a break from the current cold spell. But for the second year in a row, groundhog Malverne Mel predicted a prolonged winter.
Surrounded by Malverne Mayor Patricia Norris McDonald and other local officials, the "pronosticator of prognosticators" saw his shadow and soon retreated back into his hut to brace for six more weeks of winter.
The many families who braved the frigid weather to witness Mel's forecast had mixed reactions.
"I really wanted winter," 10-year-old Ashley Grech, of Malverne, told Patch. "Me too!" added her younger brother, Thomas.
"They love the snow. They want to make more snowmen," explained their mom Janet Grech, who unlike the rest of her family had been hoping Mel would predict an early spring.
Ashley's and Tom's dad, Tom, said, "I happen to like having a lot of snow and we haven't really had much since the storm [that followed] Hurricane Sandy."
"I'm not happy about the prediction of six more weeks of winter," said Suzanne Kraemer-Parra, president of the Malverne Civic Association, which co-sponsored the 18th annual Groundhog Day festivities with the village.
She explained, "I was really looking forward to an early spring, because Malverne's so beautiful in the spring, just walking around the town. As she started to come to grips with the extended winter forecast Kraemer-Parra added, "As long as the people of Malverne are happy, I'm happy."
This morning's ceremony was only the beginning of the Groundhog Day festivities in Malverne. Later today, there will be a free movie screening, a wood-carving demonstration, scavenger hunt and other events. Click here for the schedule.
- PHOTOS: Malverne Mel Greets Train Commuters
- Patch Guide: 2013 Groundhog Day in Malverne