BELFAST — An enthusiastic crowd gathered in Heritage Park Sept. 4 to see how much longer Passagassawakeag Pete, nicknamed Passy Pete, predicts summer will last.
This year’s prediction was the same as the previous two: Six more weeks of summer. It was a prediction welcomed with cheers and applause from a crowd happy to put off winter for a little longer.
This is the third annual event, which sees a lobster pulled from a lobster trap just off the shore of Belfast Harbor.
Passy Pete is placed on several scrolls, each with their own prediction, before making his selection in a language only event organizer David Crabiel can understand, according to fellow organizer David Brassbridge.
The lore of the “clairvoyant crustacean” is that Passy Pete returns to his respective trap every year to participate in the event, after which he is freed once again, according to Brassbridge.
In addition to co-owning Belfast’s Chocolate Drop Candy Shop, Brassbridge and Crabiel are members of the Belfast Barons, the group responsible for the creating the event three years ago.
Crabiel said the idea was a product of several local business owners coming together to lament the end of summer, a time when downtown businesses are significantly busier.
The idea of an “anti-groundhog” day of sorts arose, with the idea of extending the warmth of summer rather than the drag of winter.
Passy Pete, the clairvoyant crustacean, was born at the first meeting of the Belfast Barons, and the rest is salty history.
While some may doubt the nondescript lobster’s ability, Crabiel said his previous two predictions, both for six more weeks of summer, were each correct.
Belfast Mayor Walter Ash Jr., said that he’s been at the event every year, and every year it has been great.
“We would like to see more summer and that’s what it’s all about. We’re competing with a groundhog in the spring, and our lobster, I think he can surpass [the groundhog], I think he’s great,” he said.
Members of PAWS, a Camden animal shelter, were on hand at the event to support Passy Pete, and hand out fliers about the 14th annual Wienerfest, which takes place Sept. 10, at Steamboat Landing.
The festival celebrates the unmistakable dachshund breed, and their many die-hard owners. It’s $3 for adults to attend, with proceeds going to support PAWS.
While only time will tell if Passy Pete’s prediction will be correct for a third time in a row, one thing is for sure: the hardy residents of Belfast will be here either way.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org