Unadilla Billie predicts cold weather; town celebrates prediction during warm weekend

UNADILLA, Neb. (KLKN) — After seeing her shadow early Thursday morning, Unadilla Billie has been the center of attention for the village of Unadilla.

The new stuffed mascot of Nebraska’s unique celebration was on display for the public to interact with during this weekend’s Groundhog’s Day celebrations.

Jan Moore, the returning Groundhog’s Day Queen of 2020, said residents are proud of Billie because of her accurate readings.

“She’s been historically right on the forecast,” she said.

Billie took the role of the honorary groundhog from Unadilla Bill back in 2022 after Bill retired.

Despite Billie’s forecast for colder weather, the town experienced a warm day to celebrate with friends and family.

“Since Covid, we’ve had the shutdowns and weren’t able to have the celebrations,” Moore said.

She said many visitors come to get a firsthand experience of why Billie is so loved.

Bob Brandt, a coordinator for the event and Billie’s driver said a lot of traditions go into making it a holiday, including the car Billie rides in.

“The Ford Falcon is the official car of Groundhog’s day because it was introduced in 1959, on Groundhog’s day,” he said.

The vehicle donned a similar color to Billie’s fur coat and residents cheered as she passed by them in the Groundhog’s Day Parade.

“It’s a holiday where no one else has one like us,” Brandt said. “It’s really invigorated the community.”

Those in the Unadilla area spent the rest of the afternoon in each other’s company at popular locations like the Unadilla Community Center and Mal’s Grill and Bar.

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