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Almanac ends annual woolly bear caterpillar contest, collections used to make winter forecast


HAGERSTOWN, Maryland — Officials at the nation's second-oldest almanac are ending their decades-old woolly bear caterpillar contest.

The Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack announced the decision Monday, citing a lack of interest. Business Manager Jerry Spessard says there was a marked decline in entries.

For more than 30 years, the almanac collected woolly bears and awarded prizes for the biggest and smallest. Folklore says the caterpillars' black-and-brown bands forecast the severity of the upcoming winter.

The contest was discontinued a few years ago, but it was revived after a public outcry. The number dropped off so dramatically last year, officials say they've decided that the contest has "finally run its course, having lost its appeal and relevance."

The Hagerstown almanac has been continuously published for 220 years.

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