Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, is it Worth it?

Ground Hogs Day Main Photo

February 2, 2019. 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As early as 3:00am buses begin shuttling thousands of visitors to Gobbler’s Knob every 15 minutes from 3 locations: McDonalds, Paunxsy Plaza, and Wal-Mart. There is some confusion among out of town bus drivers and police on the bus route to Gobbler’s Knob causing the 1.5 mile trip to take almost 30 minutes. In the miscommunications, we aren’t charged the $5 bus fee.

  • The McDonalds bus location was the most convent being a couple blocks from the festivities following Phil’s prognostication.
  • Thousands of people created 40+ minute long lines for the bathrooms, warming and charging stations, and the souvenir shop. We recommend visiting a bathroom before arriving at Gobbler’s Knob.
  • Several children are among the crowd and no one we encounter seems overly intoxicated. Many brought their own drinks and snacks to Gobbler’s Knob.

Official Weather Works Punxsy

  • Punxsutawney Phil is over 100 years old. Each year he drinks a magic elixir giving him 7 more years of life. According to the Inner Circle, Phil has not been wrong in 133 years. According to CNN, Phil is correct 40% of the time.

Around 7:20am, the Inner Circle begins. Two scrolls were prepared for the event by the Inner circle, one for an early spring and a scroll for 6 more weeks of winter. While holding an ancient wooden cane, The Groundhog Club President is able to speak to Phil in Groundhogese. 

Phil's Prediction on Groundhog's Day

Phil is roused by the crowd chanting his name, “Phil, Phil, Phil”! Upon waking, Phil discusses with the President his prognostication and the corresponding scroll is read. Translating, the President announces a prediction is made: Phil has spoken! He did not see his shadow and spring is just around the corner. 

Groundhogs Day.png

Passport to Punxsy

At 8:00am, after Phil makes his prediction, the crowd immediately disperses to the stage hoping to get a photo with Phil and towards the buses. Visitors can walk 1.5 – 2 miles or bus back to the town of Punxsutawney for additional activities.

Map of Punxsutawney

  • Gobbler’s Knob and Gobbler’s Knob Trail: A half mile trail with metal groundhog art.
  • Punxsutawney Memorial Library
  • Ground Hog Headquarters: Free entrance to view Groundhog Club and Punxsutawney Phil related items.

Punxy Phil's Burrow

  • Phil’s Burrow: The climate controlled burrow where Phil and his wife Phyllis live, viewed form the outside through a glass wall. 
  • Mahoning Shadow Trail: A 15 mile trail of reclaimed railroad ties along the Mahoning Creek. 1 mile of the trail passes through Punxsutawney Borough.
  • Punxsutawney Historical and Genealogical Society: Groundhog Day exhibits, stories, games, hot chocolate, and cookies in the Reschini Room and Lattimer House.

Phantastic Phils Statues

  • Phantastic Phils: Scattered throughout Punxsutawney are 32 groundhog statues measuring 6 feet tall.
  • Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center: $7 entrance fee. The center has interactive weather and legend exhibits, scavenger hunt, and craft.

Barclay Celebration tent

  • Craft and food vendors, chainsaw carving, and live music began at 8:00am in Barclay Square. Scheduled events take place throughout the day in town, most ending by 4:00pm. 
  • After his prognostication, Phil spends his remaining time on Groundhog Day in his climate controlled burrow, with the exception of an appearance at Phil 101 and the 20’s themed Groundhog Ball. The Groundhog day schedule can be found here.

Was it worth it? 

us at groundhogs day 2.2.2019

It wasn’t for us but we’ve always been curious about the Groundhog Day experience in Punxsutawney and are glad we went. With warmer temperatures, we would have walked through town in search of all 32 Phantastic Phils, had a drink at The Burrow, and hiked the .5 mile Gobbler’s Knob Trail. After walking almost 2 miles from Gobbler’s Knob to town and wandering through Barclay Square, we struggled to fill the remaining 2.5 hours until Phil 101 at 11:00am and decided to head home.

The Traveling Gingerbread Note: We recommend booking at hotel more than 2 months in advance. In early December, we booked the closest available hotel in Brookville. Had we stayed in the area after Groundhog Day festivities, we planned to check out: Boxcar Brew Works at Doolittle Station in Dubois and Blackbird Distillery in Brookville. 

Phil in Pittsburgh PA
Punxsutawney Phil’s visit to Penn Brewery 
  • In the future, we’ll visit Phil on his travels to Pittsburgh 2 weekends before the celebration and spend Groundhog Day inside where temperatures are warmer.

February 2019

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Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My fiancé, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over four years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, and experiences to maximize our time. Any time we travel, we try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. 
 In Tokyo, we laughed every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own adorable gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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