Groundhog Day 2011: Family Fun In Punxsutawney, PA

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C'mon Phil, we need to hear spring is around the corner this Groundhog Day!

My parents lived in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for a few years, so my kids and I know a lot about the groundhog. Punxsutawney is where crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. One of the first things you notice when you reach the small town is that everything (and I mean everything) has a groundhog on it. We have t-shirts, hats and sweaters with the rodent’s face in it. When my daughter was just a toddler and learning how to speak, Punxsutawney was one of the words she said regularly and it remains an adorable memory today. So our family will eagerly await to see what happens this Groundhog Day 2011.

Just like the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, the day remains a very big, festive celebration for the town’s natives. It’s also a festive celebration for visitors. While we were there, we often stopped by the Groundhog Zoo (yes, there is a whole zoo dedicated to the groundhog), and took pictures at the Town Square with the larger than life statue of the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

Ultimately, the big news of the day obviously revolves around how Phil will emerge from his Pennsylvania burrow at Gobbler’s Knob. If he sees his shadow, then we can expect six more weeks of winter. If not, then we get an early spring.

I am holding an even higher stake in Phil’s prediction this year. After a bitter cold and strangely snowy January here in New York City, I want to hear that spring is on the way. The phenomenon of living the same day over and over again that was captured in the movie is eerily being played out in real life in the Northeast. Every week, there is another snowstorm! So I don’t care if it’s only a tradition that bears little merit on the actual weather’s outcome. I want to focus on sunny days and breezy afternoons strolling in the park as opposed to climbing over 3-ft mounds of dirty snow on the way to the bus.

With fingers crossed, I’ll be watching Gobbler’s Knob on the morning of February 2nd (and unfortunately awaiting yet another snowstorm!).

Image: Wikipedia