6-more weeks of winter or an early spring? Punxsutawney Phil will make his prediction this morning as the nation celebrates Groundhog Day. Last year, the groundhog predicted more winter, marking the first time he saw his shadow since the tradition began in 1886.
Here are some other facts about Ground Hog Day:
Punxsutawney has only been correct 39% of the time.
Prior to 1993, the Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney attracted crowds of approximately 2,000. The movie “Groundhog Day” made it much more popular, and annual crowds are now between 10,000 and 20,000 . . . with the exception of last year, when it was closed off due to the pandemic.
Lots of other towns have their own weather-predicting rodents. Including Milltown, New Jersey. (Milltown is about halfway between New York City and Trenton.) They’ve got a groundhog named Milltown Mel who also predicts if it’ll be an early spring. But they had to cancel their event this year . . . because Mel just DROPPED DEAD. They announced his death on Facebook and said they couldn’t find a replacement groundhog in time. So they had no choice but to cancel the event. The good news is they say Mel lived a pretty long life for a groundhog. His exact age isn’t clear, but they only live around three years in the wild.
The Pennsylvania Lottery’s mascot is a groundhog named Gus, referred to in commercials as “the second-most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania”, behind Phil.
In the movie, no one knows how long Bill Murray’s character Phil was stuck in the same day. Director Harold Ramis said it was probably “30 to 40 years” . . . but in the original script, he was looping for 10,000 years.
The first Groundhog Day celebration in 1887 involved EATING the groundhog. Apparently they taste like a cross between pork and chicken.