Groundhog’s Day 2014-
We were there to see Phil the Groundhog rousted out of his slumber, and taken out from his cozy stump to see his shadow amidst the brotherhood of the Inner Circle of Gobbler’s Knob. The men were all dressed in top hats and formal attire.
Twenty four years ago (before the 1993 movie) my sister Mary and I drove in the middle of a foggy night to see the groundhog. I can tell you that it was a much different this trip. Last time we just parked on the side of the road and walked up the hill to Gobbler’s Knob. The whole event was well orchestrated and incredibly efficient, especially with the number of people coming to town. Lots of dedicated people making a concerted effort to insure everyone’s safe and happy experience! Everyone pleasant and a festive atmosphere. We had fun and were really glad it was rain rain and more rain instead of ice and snow snow snow!
Laura thought she’d like to go last year since it was on a weekend but it was super cold and I had an photography show opening that weekend and it didn’t work out. ”Next year”, I said. ”Next year.” Laura wanted to cross it off her Bucket List.
Mary came out from NYC on the train Thursday night and Laura drove in Saturday morning from Columbus OH.
We went to bed at 8:30 PM Saturday night and got up at 2:40 AM.
Pulled out of the driveway around 3:20AM and drove the 74 miles to Punxsutawney PA. Not to0 much traffic but when we got there the Wal-Mart parking lot was already filled up. We were able to find a spot behind the County Market in Groundhog Plaza and walked two blocks to a McDonald’s where we got $5 round trip tickets for the bus to Gobbler’s Knob.
Just like Shuey had told us (he went last year in the bitter cold, driving his MOTORCYCLE from Niceville, Florida) it was “easy peasy.” The crowd was estimated at 30,000 and yes, it rained on us the entire time but the temp was about 37 so no ice, no snow and none of us felt cold or miserable. I’d wrapped the camera in a couple of plastic bags and rubber bands on the end of the lens. At one point we were asked to all pull out our cell phones an light the place like a concert with a lighter. A fellow art teacher plays the bass fiddle in a band The Beagle Brothers and they played a few sets starting at 3AM. Oh, the Star Spangled Banner, too.
We stopped in at County Market to buy a couple of magnets and use their nice restroom. The clerk had been there since the night before at 10:30 and her shift ended at 6AM.
School buses lined up to take Groundhog Fans to Gobbler’s Knob
Laura at Gobbler’s Knob
Cell phones light Gobbler’s Knob
Thirty minutes of Zambelli Fireworks in the woods was an unexpected delight.
The Beagle Brothers band
The Beagle Brothers played a few sets and the National Anthem. Fellow art teacher Kyle on the Bass Fiddle. Nice job!
Uh oh. He saw his shadow. SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER!!!
A fellow groundhog fan took our photo on Gobbler’s Knob
Josh (dogmatic liveart) painted Groundhog Day right on the spot!
Groundhog fans checking their photos and messages.
Headed for the buses at Gobbler’s Knob
Groundhog Fan with Groundhog Hat
Photographer on Gobbler’s Knob
After the Prognostication
Getting on the bus for downtown
Kids playing on piles of dirty snow
Groundhog Statues all over town!
Mr. Tom Uberti shook my hand and welcomed me to Punxsutawney. AKA Big Windmaker. He graciously allowed me to “shoot him.”
Happy Groundhog’s Day. A friend sent an email of a groundhog finding a Lombardi trophy as a shadow.
You can click here for all the serious information from the official website in Punxsutawney PA.
I hear there are some competitors around the country but Phil lives close by …. “If Candlemas be fair and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” or this poem from Wikipedia “In Scotland the tradition may also derive from an English poem:
As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop