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Fourth of July festivities get hopping in Williston - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fourth of July festivities get hopping in Williston

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

They're squirmy and slimy and prepped for competition.

"Good luck to ya'! Break a leg," organizer Bill Skiff said. "The problem will be today with the long grass, that we don't lose them."

Skiff has been at the helm of the frog jumping contest for 25 years. After he checks their size and his son checks their girth, somehow even the biggest and tiniest frogs qualify for the race.

"Kids need to remember things like I did, how to have fun with nothing," Skiff said. "We got string, grass and a frog, that's all you need. And you watch their faces."

A string outlines the frog jumping field. Four frogs jump at a time and the first one to cross the edge of the square is the winner.

Dozens of kids participate, even those who at first seem pretty squeamish.

"It's smelly! It's ginormous!" Grace Koutris said.

Some frogs hop right to the finish line, but others take a different route.

"I was just putting him down and then he started jumping everywhere," Grace said. "And finally when I got him across he just ran away from me."

Skiff says the frogs keep getting bigger every year and he thinks the proximity of the Williston Central School might be why.

"I think maybe the kids feed them part of their lunch when they go by," he said.

Grace and her sister Lydia picked a winning pair.

"We think they're husband and wife though," Lydia said. "First and second place-- pretty cool."

But at this competition every frog is a winner.

"Come on back in for your ribbons!" Skiff called.

The frog jumping competition inspired Skiff to write a children's book, "Willy the Jumping Frog," which he hopes will be on shelves next year.

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