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
On our way to the buses we saw this Groundhog Bride. Groundhog Weddings were available but no “walk-ins”
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!
Piles of snow and Television Trucks
Phil’s handlers belong to the Inner Circle.
Uh oh. He saw his shadow. SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER!!!
Six more weeks of winter, he predicts. The crowd let out a collective groan.
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
Another shot as the light increases in the sky- Laura at Gobbler’s Knob
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.”
Great photos! Great effort getting there.
Looks as if you 3 fun loving girls had a blast!!! Thanks for sharing your experience!! Great pictures!! Could have done without the six more weeks of winter, though!!
So – now on to the Super Bowl!!!
I’ve never been to Puxatawney, PA but really enjoyed all the photos you took. Felt as if I was right there in the middle of all the fun! It’s a shame Phil saw his shadow!
Sounds fun! And COLD! 🙂
Wow, some journey, and well documented. 🙂 Liked the big smiles.
Your photos very vividly “describe” the atmosphere there and I remembered the movie “Groundhog Day”. Watching the film I thought it was all a bit exaggerated, but now I’m convinced that I was wrong.
Thanks Tanja. It is crazy fun. Your comment is very nice to receive .
I loved the pictures! and I love the fact that you guys did it! – Maybe I’ll add it to my bucket list. I know for sure Hesh won’t do it with me.
Love the pictures. I remember my Johnny drove with some fellow college students from Waynesburg to cover Phil when he was in college. He loved the trip but it was cold than too. Thanks for sharing your story with pictures.
GREAT POST AND PHOTOS. They say it’s the place to be on Groundhog Day as your photos show. Thanks for sharing.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Thanks Francine. We were lucky the weather was wet and not ice or snow. It was fun to go with my sister and daughter. Thanks for your nice comment today.
Echoing the sentiment of others . . . great pictures! Thanks for sharing some of all ya’lls fun.
As to the Winter prediction, take heart. Historically, Phil has been wrong more than 50% of the time. Odds for an early Spring are on our side!
This is way better than going to some game. Great photos of a great time. It also makes me think of when Rita is saying in the movie how great the people are they dance until they’re cold then go warm up and come back. Then Phil, not the groundhog, says of course they do they’re hicks.
Thank for the visit and nice comment. You could work up a Groudhog’s Day menu and accompanying spirts, I’m sure. The mood is quite festive.
Worth the effort for sure. We went before the movie and now it is really built up, well organized but definitely increased attendance.
Thanks Greg. Definitely better than some game!
What a great HAPPY POST! This left me smiling so big!
What a bizarre scene (and event in general). I imagine the movie was one of the best things to happen to this town?
I love your pic of Mr. Tom Uberti – so crisp, clear, and dignified!
The movie was filmed in Woodstock Illinois but did wonders for Punxsutawney PA. There are some scenes showing Pittsburgh at the beginning on the highway with skyline but the town is not Punxy. Not sure why they didn’t film in the actual location
Huh, I didn’t know that most of the film wasn’t actually shot in PA. Strange…
Loved the play by play. It looks like it was fun!
You could not pay me to go out there in that cold…I can’t believe you don’t think 37 degrees isn’t cold. Makes sense that Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow from the looks of things. This was a great documentary of the day, though. I am glad to look at your post in my nice comfy warm house 🙂
What an event!!! You three are the greatest. I bet Groundhog cookies were included
Oh my word, what a soggy mess! 🙂 Love the fireworks shot, Ruth.
Such fun photos, Ruth. Bravo to the three of you for enduring the rain and the crowds, and especially for that super early start. Love the photo portarait of Mr Tom. 🙂
OK I must live in bubble…I had no idea that this went on 🙂 I thought it was just some, I don’t know , made up thing! How funny.
It’s real and the folks in Punxsutawney take it quite seriously.
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