United States Sopchoppy 20th Annual Worm Gruntin' Festival

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Wayne Foote

About this spot
The Worm Gruntin' Festival is held on the second Saturday in April of each year.

Worm grunting is a method of catching earthworms for use as freshwater fish bait. The tools involved are a wooden stake (stob) and a flat iron bar (rooping iron). The stob is driven part way into the ground and the rooping iron is rubbed across the top of the stob. The result is a low, grunting sound. A good worm grunter working on good ground can capture multiple gallons of worms in a day.

In 1881 Charles Darwin theorized that the worms interpreted the grunting sound as burrowing moles which prey on worms. To escape the moles they flee to the surface of the ground where there grunter catches them.This theory was confirmed by researchers at Cornell University in field studies conducted in Sopchoppy with the assistance of Mr. Revell. There are only a few professional worm grunters still practicing.

The festival includes food vendors, art and crafts vendors, a professional worm grunting demonstration, a worm grunting contest for children 12 and under, music and a hula hoop contest.

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