Arts & Culture

Brevard, North Carolina’s White Squirrel Says Winter Will Continue

If you’re placing bets, Pisgah Pete also made a Super Bowl prediction

photo: Courtesy of Explore Brevard

Pisgah Pete.

In Western North Carolina, Pisgah Pete the white squirrel had two important choices to make this morning, and he didn’t make them lightly. He paused, and he thought, he scratched, he ate several nuts, he might have tried to nap a little, and he even tried to run away before he made his decisions: He called for six more weeks of winter, and a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl win. 

Today marks the seventh annual White Squirrel Day in Brevard, North Carolina, and the livestreamed festivity kicked off with Mayor Jimmy Harris making an important proclamation to take groundhogs off their pedestals. “The city of Brevard hereby proudly declares and ordains February 2, 2021 as White Squirrel Day and further orders that Groundhog Day will forever be recognized in the city of Brevard as White Squirrel Day,” he told viewers who tuned in via Facebook. Due to a genetic mutation, about a quarter of Brevard’s squirrels are white, a celebrated anomaly within the town.

For the moment of truth, Pisgah Pete’s handler Jennifer Burgin placed him in a cage with a luxurious red carpet and two signs denoting his options, one at the front right of the cage, the other at the front left.

It was a harrowing affair. “He isn’t into making snap decisions,” WSQL radio personality Don DeBiase, who hosted the event, reminded viewers as Pisgah Pete bobbed his head and attempted to exit the back of his cage. “He’s chewing right now. He’s debating. You have to have a little patience when dealing with a squirrel.” Finally, after long minutes of deliberation, Pisgah Pete moved decisively to the right side of the cage. “And it’s six more weeks of winter!” proclaimed DeBiase. (“It took you long enough, and it wasn’t the answer we wanted, but that’s okay.”) 

Pisgah Pete’s Super Bowl choice was instantaneous—as soon as the signs went up, he rushed to the front left of his cage. “It’s the Kansas City Chiefs, that’s his pick,” announced DeBiase. Pisgah Pete’s only Super Bowl misjudgement came last year (“I think the cataracts had a lot to do with that,” said Harris; Pisgah Pete is ten years old). Mayor Harris certified the result. “He came around, and I hope this satisfies all the bookies in Las Vegas,” Harris said. “Put all your money on the Kansas City Chiefs, that’s what he’s saying.” 

Learn more about Pisgah Pete and the White Squirrel Institute that cares for him here.