With Ground Hog Day approaching…And being a little different this time around, we decided to ask around Punxsutawney, home of Phil The Groundhog, and find out how things are different and some of the history of Ground Hog Day.
- What are the contingency plans for Ground Hog Day this year with the COVID-19 threat?
In early fall this year the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club formed a Special Committee to monitor the Covid pandemic and stay ahead of our options for Groundhog Day. We have been in continuing contact with health officials and those providing guidance. The health and safety of our faithful followers and everyone associated with Phil’s prognostication has been our number one priority.
Today we announce that Phil, along with the Inner Circle, will be making his live annual Prognostication from Gobbler’s Knob this coming Groundhog Day February 2nd 2021, but it has been determined that there will not be any in-person attendance or guests on the grounds as the potential Covid risks to overcome are too great.
- What can people expect from this virtual experience? We are developing numerous live internet, website and virtual events and interactions that will take the place of the traditional in person events. Information regarding these virtual events will be listed and on our website: www.groundhog.org. We want to assure Phil’s fans that even though the 2021 celebration will look different, the Inner Circle is excited to develop numerous virtual events and new opportunities to celebrate Groundhog Day.
- Will any of the attractions be open, like Gobbler’s Knob? It is very unlikely, but it if it is determined that we can logistically and safety hold any in person activities related to Groundhog Day, we will make that information available if developed.
- So, when things are finally and safely opened up, what can people expect when they visit Punxsutawney? Is it fun year around? Or, just on Groundhog Day? Punxsutawney is a quintessential Pennsylvania small town. Downtown Punxsutawney is a clean, beautiful, and has a business district where generational businesses are locally grown and locally proud. It is a historic downtown that celebrates its late Victorian and Romanesque Revival architectural styles in local buildings. Take a boat out or go fishing on Cloe Lake, hike, bike or cross-country ski along the Mahoning Shadow Trail, kayak down the Mahoning Creek, or explore the surrounding natural habitats. Relax afterward at local wineries or enjoy a leisurely game of golf. Punxsutawney offers a variety of outdoor recreational options for adventurers of all ages. And there is always getting selfies with Punxsuwtawney Phil along the way!
- Wait! You are telling me Phil is available for selfies year around? Well, Phil does have his own very special spot with his wife Phyllis that you can visit year-round. It is very posh. But there are also Phantastic Phils. These are specially painted statues of Phil across the city perfect for selfies! You can see the map of them all here.
- Tell me more about Phil. Does he hibernate? How many Phils have there been? Give me the full story on Phil: So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br’er Groundhog. There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making predictions since 1886! Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life,” a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life. Phil has never had any children. Phil does not hibernate as he lives in a food and climate-controlled environment.
- When was the first Groundhog Day? Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1887. The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May…”
- Tell me more about Gobbler’s Knob Trail : The trail is 4/10 of a mile in length. Throughout the trail you will see informational signage. This signage includes information about the history of Groundhog Day, The Inner Circle, Punxsutawney Phil, and much more! . There are also metal art displays along the trail. The metal art is created and donated by Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational-Technical School each year on Groundhog Day. Please do not climb on or play with the metal art.
- What other cool attractions and things to do can I find in and around Punxsutawney, Pa.? Well there is the Gobbler’s Knob wine festival the first Saturday of October. And at some point the Hogstoberfest Craft Beer Festival will return. If you want to get out of and about, Dubois is a cool town to visit and there is an airport there (Served by Southern Airways). A visit to the Blackbird Distillery in Brookville could be on your list. And there is the Jimmy Stewart Museum in his hometown of Indiana, Pa.
For more information visit groundhog.org