During our trip to New York City in 2006, Shea and I took a side excursion to Punxsutawney, PA for the Groundhog Day celebration. What can I say? It was on Shea’s bucket list.
Let’s set one thing straight: it’s nothing like the movie. It’s not even in the middle of town. In fact, it’s on the top of a mountain about twenty minutes outside of town. You have to get up at about 3am to make it there, as much of route is closed down to everything but shuttle buses.
We got to the area for the festivities at about 5am or so, and there was already a substantial crowd. There was a bonfire and entertainment on the stage that attempted to keep your mind occupied.
At about 6:30 or so, they had a fireworks show.
At this point, there were probably seventeen thousand people or more squeezed into the clearing. It was right before the 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl, so there were Terrible Towels in abundance.
It was now 7:30am, and the temperature had warmed up to about 38 degrees. We were all dressed for single digit weather, and jammed together tightly, so everyone started stripping off layers.
Finally, it was time for the Groundhog ceremony itself. The town elders took the stage in their top hats and long coats.
And then they reached into a tree stump and yanked the rather large rodent out.
If memory serves, the groundhog saw his shadow, so there was to be six more weeks of winter. I don’t remember is that came true or not.