BELFAST — “This is the first time it has rained,” said Dorothy Havey, Belfast Chamber of Commerce Director, as she initiated the eighth ceremonial year Passy Pete has predicted an early winter or six more weeks of summer.
Passy Pete is short for Passagassawakeag Pete, the clairvoyant crustacean.
He’s named after the river that begins in Brooks and runs for 16-miles spilling out into Belfast Harbor. Before you have fun and make yourself a little crazy trying to pronounce it, the Native American name means, “a place for spearing sturgeon by torchlight.”
Passy Pete joins the ranks of Puxatawny Phil, who predicts an early spring or six more weeks of winter, or Jack the shark, who picks Super Bowl champions, or even the late Wiarton Willie of Canada, these soothsayers bridge the gap between science and frivolity.
The Belfast Barons are in charge of the scrolls. Pete is retrieved from the water and ceremoniously carried up to the park in his trap where he is removed and presented with two scrolls.
One scroll will herald and early winter, while the other extends summer for six more weeks.
A hush falls over the crowd. Pete plays the moment in the spotlight before choosing a scroll and it reads:
Friends of Belfast!
“I have tested the deepest depths,
And polled the shallowest shoals.
I have worried about my safety,
And considered changing my goals.
But my integrity is strong,
And I hope to survive the day.
It’s with great fear I declare,
Winter is on the way.”
Awws, and boos from the crowd, but Passy Pete has spoken. Pull those winter clothes from the drawers and closets, and clean the cobwebs off the boots. An early winter is upon us.
Passy Pete was returned to the water after many a photo op and will live to prognosticate another day.