Plumas County’s favorite weather predictor earns cheers from children and adults for his declaration to run in this year’s U.S. presidential election. Photo by Roni Java

Chamber’s Groundhog Fever Festival delights huge crowd

Plumas County’s superstar marmot Chuck Wood predicted six more weeks of winter and launched his hilarious 2020 presidential campaign before adoring fans Feb. 1 at the eighth annual Groundhog Fever Festival in downtown Quincy.

Sponsored by the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, the four-hour festival offered hearty food, crowd-pleasing entertainment and displays by local artisans.

Chuck Wood for President

Complete with a not-so-secret service detail plus campaign staff and question-wielding protestors, the small, furry weather expert spoke amid cheers and waves of “Chuck Wood 2020” support signs.

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“After some hard work and grassroots underground organizing, he’s here to announce his candidacy,” campaign manager Rebecca Glaspy said as laughter rang out through the crowd. “In all my years of working with politicians, I’ve never seen someone so willing to dig in, someone literally chomping at the bit to do the dirty work! He would never bite off more than he can chew. Vote Chuck Wood and together we can rebuild this nation from the groundhog up!”

The prognosticating rodent was described as a true American whose campaign was finally ready to surface. Wood fielded questions on the economy, health care, foreign policy and climate change.

“I promise to predict six more weeks of winter every year during my administration,” the woodchuck quipped. “That should cool things down a bit!”

New ‘mayor’ and lots of fun

The event featured live music, facedown “Whipped Cream Wrangles” for kids and adults, a mustache competition, thumb wrestling, a bachelor-bachelorette charity auction, flip-a-cup beer drinking races and the installation of this year’s new honorary mayor.

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“Her Honor” Jennifer Kaufmann-Ready received the 2020 key to the city from outgoing “Mayor” Michelle Fulton who announced she had fulfilled her campaign promise of free hugs for all. Fulton gave out 1,868 hugs last year and bestowed a new one on her successor.

Several public service agencies, groups and first responders, including the Quincy Fire District, Plumas County Search and Rescue and VFW Post 3825, hosted information booths.

Superb cooks and gratitude

“What a great event,” said Quincy Chamber of Commerce President Michele Cruz, estimating more than 1,000 people attended.

Shoppers visited 20 merchant booths and chili purveyors; wine and beer ticket sales were brisk all afternoon. Among the entrants for the festival’s chili contest awards were:

– Feather River College Culinary Arts

– Greenhorn Ranch

– Grocery Outlet

– Kinship Ranch

– Main Street Sports Bar & Grill

– Mill Creek Fish & Chips

– Plumas County Gay Straight Alliance

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– Plumas County Search and Rescue

– The SAM Pfingston Family

“The Quincy Chamber is deeply grateful to every person who attended, every vendor who participated, every chili entrant and everyone who participated in the events,” Cruz added. “Each individual makes this a HUGE success and loads of fun! Thank you, everyone.”

2020 Honorees

Groundhog Fever Festival

Honorary Mayor

Jennifer Kaufmann-Ready

Best Decorated Booth

Plumas County Gay Straight Alliance

People’s Choice — Best Chili

Quincy’s Main Street Sports Bar & Grill: “Something, Something, Something Chili”

Judges’ Choice — Best Chili

Cromberg’s Kinship Ranch: “Rustic Chili”