Arts and Culture

10 Things You Didn't Know About Groundhog Day

Filed Under: Pennsylvania
Groundhog Day --
Every Feb. 2, we rely on a groundhog to predict the weather. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we accept 6 more weeks of cold weather. And if Phil doesn’t, we can hope for an early spring.

How much do you know about Groundhog Day? Test your knowledge with trivia from Tom Chapin, the editor of The Punxsutawney Spirit.


1 — None of the scenes from the 1993 film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, were filmed in Punxsutawney, PA. Most of the film was shot in Woodstock, IL, which is close to Chicago, the home base of director Harold Ramis.

2 — Punxsutawney Phil delivers his annual prognostication in “groundhogese,” which is then translated by the Inner Circle president and told to the vice-president, who then chooses the proper scroll as directed by Phil: One declaring 6 more weeks of winter, the other reporting an early spring.

3 — In the 1960s, Inner Circle President Sam Light initiated the top hat and tuxedo uniform for the group, noting that such an important figure as Punxsutawney Phil should be greeted with a sense or reverence and formality.

4 — Thirty-two 6-foot, fiberglass “Phantastic Phils,” a public art project first launched in 2004, adorn sidewalks and corners throughout Punxsutawney.

5 — When he’s not at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil and 3 other groundhogs — including his wife, Phyllis — live in a heated area of the children’s portion of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.

6 — Membership in the Groundhog Club Inner Circle entails a nomination by a sitting member of the group and then a vote. Currently, there are no female members of the Inner Circle.

7 — Bill Murray absconded from the site of another project he was filming to attend Groundhog Day festivities in 1992, a year before the film Groundhog Day was released.

8 — Punxsutawney Phil, according to legend, is the original groundhog, as his life is extended another 7 years every summer and he swigs a gulp of his “groundhog nog” at an annual picnic at Gobbler’s Knob. Groundhog nog’s life-extending powers do not work on humans, according to Inner Circle President Bill Deeley.

9 — Students at Punxsutawney Area High School — home of the “Chucks” — have no school on Groundhog Day, because the school buses are used to transport thousands of people to and from Gobbler’s Knob.

10 — This is how The Punxsutawney Spirit described the news of Punxsutawney Phil’s first prognostication in 1886: “Today is groundhog day, and up to the time of going to press, the beast has not seen his shadow."

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