Passy Pete predicts an early winter

By Kendra Caruso | Sep 02, 2019
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Former Mayor Walter Ash, a Belfast Baron, holds Passy Pete aloft Labor Day morning at Heritage Park before the lobster chooses a scroll predicting fall weather.

Belfast — Some will be dismayed to learn that Passy Pete, Belfast’s lobster medium, predicted an early winter for the second year at Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual event at Heritage Park.

Every Labor Day since 2015, the clairvoyant crustacean has accurately predicted whether Belfast will see an early winter or six more weeks of tourist season.

The crowd drew closer Monday morning as Passy Pete favored one scroll over the other. Belfast Baron Dave Crabiel read the scroll that marked an early winter as it unrolled by his feet. The cold and rainy morning at the park supported the lobster's prediction.

The Belfast Barons, an unofficial club existing solely for the event, pulled Passy Pete from a trap on the beach along Heritage Park. Although no one to date has ascertained its gender, the seasonal prognosticator is named for the Passagassawakeag River, which runs through Belfast into Belfast Bay.

After the event, Passy Pete was released back into Belfast harbor until next year, when it will be summoned again. There is no lobster boil or meal affiliated with the event, according to Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Ryan.

“S/he has volunteered for this public service and participates with no cloud over his/her antennae,” Ryan wrote in an email.

The event is meant to work opposite Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog that makes spring predictions every February. Passy Pete's annual prediction helps keep the community engaged into fall before winter slows traffic to the city.

“We started the event as a way to tell people that Belfast is still hopping in the fall,” Crabiel said.

Passy’s first three predictions were six more weeks of summer, but the last two predictions have been for early winters. The scrolls and lobster trap are kept at the chamber's office on Main Street for people to view.


A child touches Passy Pete as he speaks with former Mayor Walter Ash before the lobster returns to Belfast Harbor on Labor Day. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
The Belfast Barons carry Passy Pete in a trap from Belfast Harbor near Heritage Park Labor Day morning. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Belfast Baron Dave Crabiel reads a scroll with a fall weather prediction selected by Passy Pete in Heritage Park Labor Day morning. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
The Belfast Barons pull a trap holding Passy Pete from Belfast Harbor near Heritage Park Labor Day morning. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
The Belfast Barons wait to collect Passy Pete from Belfast Harbor to make the lobster's seasonal weather prediction near Heritage Park Labor Day morning. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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