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GroundFrog Day will be Jan. 27 in the afternoon

Doug Ramsay file photo

Thayer Cueter announces Snohomish Slew’s “frognostication” at the 2016 GroundFrog Day.

SNOHOMISH — Snohomish Slew is so much more than a handsome face and at the 13th annual GroundFrog Day, Jan. 27 from 12:30 to 2 p.m., festivalgoers will get to see the triple-threat bullfrog in all his amphibian glory.
The star of the free show will give Punxsutawney Phil a hop for his money in weather prediction and teach attendees how much he and his fellow frogs mean to humanity.
Slew’s famous frognostication, where he predicts whether spring is imminent or six weeks out, takes place at the Avenue A gazebo off of First Street. His handler, Thayer Cueter of Just Frogs and Friends, will translate the verdict from “frogese” to English.
“These creatures are the indicator species like the canary in the coal mine,” Cueter said, speaking to Slew’s first power. They not only sense the arrival of spring and vocalize to attract mates when they do, but their health reflects how healthy or diseased the environment is.
Slew’s second role is as a local personality. He will be available for selfies and a kissing booth (new this year) though no transformation into a prince should be expected. Children may even have the chance to “hand-feed squiggly, ugly things to Slew prior to the frognostication,” said event co-founder Pam Schilaty of the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce. Don’t worry, the myth that frogs can transmit warts is untrue.
Slew’s third special talent is as a fund raiser. In conjunction with GroundFrog day, the Aquatic Center hosts the Lazy River Frog Race. People can donate $5 to bet on a racing frog and participate in the frog race at 2 p.m. at the Aquatic Center, 516 Maple Ave. Proceeds fund the Swim for Life project which provides free swimming lessons for Snohomish second graders and children in need.
Slew won’t be doing the event solo. He’ll be joined by Princess Amphibiana and D.J. P.J. Parsons. Local mascots will round out the party for a ribbeting good time.
This year, organizers are sectioning off the Frog Hop center to encourage little ones and their parents to get dancing downtown.
In the meantime, Slew will be enjoying a princely regimen in a virtual palace thanks to Cueter: Snohomish’s most fortunate frog enjoys separate sleeping quarters, feeding quarters and an agility condo, plus a spa. In addition to vitamins, he downs more than 250 crickets a week and splurges on 20 worms three times a week.
Cueter didn’t become the frog whisperer overnight. She said grew up saving frogs and turtles at the veterinary clinic her uncle owned as there was no provision for the exotic pets at the time. She continues that work at her animal rescue and in handling Slew. By caring for him “like a king,” Cueter was able to keep the original Slew in frogtastic shape for a decade. The current Slew — Slew Two — took over the role three years ago.
Everyone is invited for a sneak peek at Slew Sunday, Jan. 21 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Fred’s Rivertown Alehouse Restaurant on First Street in Snohomish.

How Slew predicts the weather:
If Slew croaks, it’s sunny skies for spring; if Slew does not, expect more wet weather. Last year, Slew gave a faint sound predicting a sunny spring. Cueter said last year that her froggy friend hasn’t predicted wrong yet.


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