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Time For Punxsutawney Phil To Make His Annual Appearance

Punxsutawney Phil and his handler (Getty Images)

It’s an annual tradition in the small Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, northeast of Pittsburgh.  Every year on February 2nd the spotlight shines on a groundhog they call Punxatawney Phil.  All based on European folklore that if a badger wanders from his burrow and sees his shadow, there’ll be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is right around the corner. 

German farmers actually used this system to gauge when  to plant their crops.  When they moved to North America they brought the tradition with them to Pennsylvania, but because there were no badgers in the area, they used groundhogs. 

February 2nd is the mid-point of winter and it was also a date for farmers to take inventory of their hay.  If they didn’t have half of it left, they’d have to conserve it so that they didn’t run out before spring. 

There’s an entire week of activities celebrating Ground Hog’s Day in Punxsutawney with entertainment, festivals, parades and fireworks.  Ground Hog’s Day itself begins at midnight with shuttle buses heading to Gobbler’s Hill beginning at 2:30 am.  Coffee shops open at 3 with most of the town’s souvenir shops and stores open at about the same time with Phil scheduled to venture out about 7:25.  An entire day of activities follows that with all-you-can-eat breakfasts, souvenir vendors, live music and a parade. 

You can check the official website for yourself at:  groundhog.org

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