If you’re like us then hearing the words “Groundhog Day” calls to mind visions of Bill Murray (as Phil Connors) in his endless loop experiencing February 2 in Punxsutawney, PA. In fact, if you’re like us, you also enjoy mashup-misquoting the various radio DJ intros on every cold Pittsburgh day by shouting to the world: “Bundle-up woodchuck-chuckers! It’s coooold out there!” But, unless you are Phil Connors, the event of Groundhog Phil emerging from his weather-predicting stump of Gobbler’s Knob can only be experienced once per year.
This year marks the 133rd annual celebration and amazingly it falls on a Saturday which can only mean one thing: You must get there! The February 2 event itself starts at 3am. Phil is a bit of a diva so he won’t be arriving to the party until about sunrise (around 7:30am). But that won’t stop everyone from partying until Phil comes out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Celebrating Groundhog Day is serious business in Punxsutawney. The official Schedule of Events and Travel Guide is 32 pages long and “philled” with activities, sights to see, shopping, and eating. Many activities are family-friendly (such as the free top hat decorating contest) while others are adults-only (such as the wine tasting which starts at 7am). You will literally party until the sun comes up and then keep partying until it goes back down again.
Imagine the stories you’ll be able to share at the office on Monday after partying with 30,000 other people and one groundhog!
At the stump you’ll watch the adorable-for-one-day rodent sniff the air, see or not see a shadow, and then have a man in a top hat interpret the Prognosticator of Prognosticators’ prognostication. After that you can explore Punxsy town — from witnessing chainsaw carving to enjoying a snowshoe shadow hike to just shopping the various vendors. There are several locations that serve as “warming stations” and there are others that offer free hot cocoa and cookies!
As one would expect there is no vacancy anywhere in town during the weekend (and many ticketed events are sold out) so if you are a would-be traveler you’ll need to head up for a day trip or get creative on where and how to sleep. For those unwilling or unable to travel Visit PA has a Live Stream of Gobbler’s Knob. For those that do travel one piece of advice: Don’t forget your booties because it’s coooold out there!
We’re bundling up and getting ready for a phabulous weekend in Punxsy! We hope to see you there!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.