By Danielle Taylor
If you’re starting to feel like this long winter may never end and want some assurance on when you’ll see the beginning of spring, look no further than the famous Punxsutawney Phil, right here in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region. Since 1886, this legendary (and immortal) animal has predicted when the end of winter will come with 100 percent accuracy, and each February 2, tens of thousands of his “phans” make the trek up Gobbler’s Knob to watch this furry celebrity make his official prognostication. If Phil sees his shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring is right around the corner.
Punxsutawney’s Groundhog Day celebration spans several days long at locations all around Punxsutawney. The fun kicks off on Saturday, January 27, with the Crowning of the Little Mr. and Miss Groundhog at the Weather Discovery Center, and Phil himself will be on hand to assist with the event. On Sunday, January 28, enjoy Breakfast with Phil, where you can dine with the famous groundhog himself along with his top-hatted Inner Circle, then the Gobbler’s Knob Got Talent competition at the Punxsutawney Community Center and a Scavenger Hunt at the Weather Discovery Center.
As Groundhog Day Eve dawns on Thursday, February 1, visitors can find lots to see and do all around town. If you’d like to take a tour of Punxsutawney, join a Phantastic Phil Walking Tour from Barclay Square or a Historical Hay Ride Town Tour from the Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society. Those who prefer to explore at their own pace can take a self-guided Passport to Punxsy Tour or a Groundhog Grub Walking Food Tour. Kids will enjoy Groundhog Story Time and Crafts for Kids at the town library, and adults will want to check out the Shadow Vineyard Wine Tasting and the Wet Your Whistle Comfort Stop. Phil will be present at the Meteorology Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, and visitors can also check out performances, vendors, and exhibits at Barclay Square and Mulberry Square throughout the weekend. Don’t miss a showing of the Groundhog Day movie at the Punxsutawney Community Center, and kick up your heels with your fellow Phil phans at the Groundhog Eve Dance. Just before midnight, count down to the official start of Groundhog Day as an illuminated fiberglass Phil is raised outside the Weather Discovery Center.
On Friday, February 2, the gates at Gobbler’s Knob open at 3 a.m. Attendance is free and open to the public, although parking is limited to handicapped individuals, but you can catch a shuttle bus from town or make the trek to the Knob, much as the first hardy Phil fans did in the 1800s. The Inner Circle provides a bonfire for warmth and a stage show to keep you entertained as you wait for Phil to arrive, but dress warmly! Phil looks for his shadow right at sunrise and makes his prediction to the president of the Inner Circle, and the festivities continue throughout Punxsutawney into the weekend.
After you come down from the Knob, spend your day at events like Groundhog Bingo, Groundhog Day Weddings, Phil 101, Inner Circle Autograph Signing Session, and Phil’s Birthday Party event for those born on February 2. The town also hosts its Annual Craft Show n’ Sale and Groundhog Day Art Shows during the weekend, so make sure to save time for both. In the evening, check out the popular Cutting Edge Dueling Pianos show at The Burrow.
On Saturday, February 3, events include a Groundhog Jog, Top Hat Decorating Competition, Best Groundhog Day and Best Winter Wear Dog Competition, and the elegant Groundhog Ball, among many others. Don’t leave town without visiting Phil’s Souvenir Shop at the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce and the Groundhog Club Headquarters!
This is just a fraction of what happens in Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day, so be sure to check out the official 2018 Groundhog Day Schedule and Travel Guide for times, locations, a full schedule of events, and logistical information. Some events require pre-registration and tickets. Click here for local lodging options.
Learn more about Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney, and other interesting attractions in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to VisitPAGO.com or calling (814) 849-5197.