Stark Parks will offer two days of programs to celebrate Groundhog Day this weekend.

On Saturday, an open house will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Exploration Gateway. It will feature themed activities for the family and a chance to meet General Stark II, the resident groundhog of Stark Parks.

The official proclamation will take place at 8 a.m. on Sunday at the Exploration Gateway.  General Stark II will check for his shadow to predict how much longer winter will last.  A hike will follow to search for signs of spring around Sippo Lake Park. Refreshments will be provided after the hike.

The Exploration Gateway is at 5712 12th St NW, Canton, on the north side of Sippo Lake Park. Both programs are free and do not require registration.  All ages are welcome.

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will end soon; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly “see its shadow” and retreat into the burrow, with winter weather continuing for six more weeks.

General Stark II came to Stark Parks’ Sanders Wildlife Rehabilitation Center from Waynesburg in 2012 as a dehydrated, emaciated baby whose mother had died. Despite being paired with four other woodchucks, General Stark II never became wild, maintaining an unusually docile temperament suitable to serve as a wildlife ambassador.