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Derry observes It Day

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DERRY – Many people have been wondering about the recent onslaught of March storms, with heavy snow battering the Northeast. Not the folks in Derry, though. They’ve known this was coming for weeks.

Because It saw its shadow.

For generations, the people of Derry have watched with equal parts curiosity and terror (well, more terror than curiosity, to be honest) every March 2 to see if the horrifying embodiment of evil that lives in the sewers beneath their town would emerge from the evil underbelly into the streets … and see its shadow.

Taking place precisely one month after the more traditionally-observed Groundhog Day, It Day is a much less popular and much more unsettling holiday. As citizens of Derry peer fearfully through their curtains and blinds, they ask themselves one question: will Pennywise the Dancing Clown see its shadow, resulting in six more weeks of massive and unexpected weather events?

This year, the answer is yes.

For 364 days out of every year (except the ones that mark the 27-year cycle that no one in town cares to really talk about for reasons that they’re even less interested in talking about), the citizens of Derry forget about It Day. There’s none of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds its more innocuous cousin in Pennsylvania. While Punxsutawney has defined its civic identity by the ceremonial actions of its rodent meteorologist, the folks in Derry prefer not to think about it … or It.

“What the heck are you talking about?” asked a visibly-shaken Derry resident who preferred not to be identified. “There’s nothing called ‘It Day.’ That’s some kind of crazy nonsense being spread by crazy people. Nothing crazy here.”

“I didn’t see any clown,” stated a practically-shouting and deathly pale woman who also asked not to be identified. “Why the heck would there be a clown? Coming out of the sewers and seeing its shadow? And something about the weather? Crazy nonsense!”

Both of these people – along with almost everyone else contacted for this story – insisted that any talk of evil sewer clowns was crazy nonsense. That’s literally what every one of them said: crazy nonsense.

(It should be noted that I did receive a phone call from a young man, purportedly a Derry resident, who was adamant that It – and by extension It Day – was very real. He also went on to say something about he and his friends battling an ancient evil or something, but I stopped paying attention – I had my scoop, after all.)

The last time Pennywise saw his shadow on It Day was 25 years ago, back in 1993. Those with longer memories will recall that that March saw what was dubbed by many as “The Storm of the Century,” a weather event that resulted in record-breaking snowfall all over the Northeast, including nearly four feet in upstate New York. Thanks to the 70 MPH winds, snowdrifts reached heights of 20 feet in some spots.

Thankfully, things haven’t reached quite that level this time around, though the seemingly endless stream of nor’easters has proven to be daunting for many all over the region. And the fact remains that as of press time, we still have over two weeks to go. Who knows how many more weird weather events and meteorological phenomenon are coming our way before the time is up?

And of course, lest we forget, the day that marks the end of that six-week period? April 13. And it’s a Friday. Be warned.

It Day is one of those esoteric New England traditions that people hold onto as a reminder of how things used to be. Is it weird that they observe a de facto holiday where a demonic clown-being from another dimension climbs out of the sewer and if it sees its shadow, we’re subjected to six weeks of freakish weather? You could say it is, but really, is it any weirder than Arbor Day?

So while the citizens of Derry definitely won’t talk to you about it, It Day is very much a thing. And thanks to one clown’s shadow, our stretch of meteorological outliers is far from over. Hang onto your hats – it (and It) is getting real.

(Editor’s note: This is the annual April Fool’s edition of The Maine Edge. As such, most – if not all – of this story is completely and utterly made up.)

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