As you may know, Ryan and I made our way down to Punxsutawney, PA last week to see the Groundhog Day festival and find out what Punxy Phil’s forecast would be. Unfortunately he did see his shadow- meaning six more weeks of winter. Ryan and I feel kinda bad for Phil. Have you ever seen a groundhog boo’d by 30,000 people? It’s so sad!
I’m going to post the trip in two parts because I took a lot of pictures. This is part one-Groundhog Day. Part two- Back to Punxsutawney, will go up tomorrow!
Ryan and I got to “the Knob” at 4:30 in the morning. Our hotel was about 45 minutes away so we had woken up at 3 to drive to Punxy and take the bus.
The festival itself was kind of bizarre. There were tens of thousands of people there but at heart it was just a small town festival with some local people dancing on stage and what ryan calls “white people music” playing. At first I didn’t know how to feel about it but since most situations get better when you decide they are fun instead of weird I decided to have fun.
You can see the bonfire here as well as an example of the signs people were carrying. My favorite sign (which I didn’t get a picture of) was one that said “don’t cross the streams” on the top and had lots of pictures of Bill Murray from Ghostbusters on it. It was hilarious!
Okay, here’s what you really want to see: men in funny hats! Just before the ceremonial things began at around 6:45am there were fireworks set to the score from Star Wars which was amazing!
This is the Inner Circle. They are a bunch of old men who take care of Phil and the president is the only one who can understand Phil’s groundhog language to find out if he saw his shadow. I’m curious about why there are no women in the Inner Circle. I wonder if there ever have been.
The man with the white beard is holding up two scrolls. One says 6 more weeks of winter and the other says early spring. Phil tells the president which scroll to tell this guy to read.
And there’s Phil! See how cute he is? It was so sad when everyone was booing him. But almost as soon as he told us “six more weeks” everyone made a mass exodus to the buses!
The light at 7:30 am is particularly strange if you’ve been up since 3. Here’s everyone hurrying to get to the buses. There were three lines of about a million people each waiting to get on a school bus.
The entire town of Punxsutawney shuts down on Groundhog Day. In fact, the kids don’t have school on the 2nd or 3rd. This is partially because it’s an awesome holiday but also because they need all the school buses to get everyone from town to Gobbler’s Knob. Some people walk but it’s a 1.5 mile hike all up rolling Pennsylvania hills, no thank you!
So there you have part one. We took the bus back to our car and drove half asleep back to the hotel. We got there in time for breakfast so we ate something and went to sleep until the afternoon.
Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of our trip, including surprises!