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Celebrate Groundhog Day at Gobblers Knob-How to Get There and What to Expect

Updated on August 23, 2013

How Groundhog Day began

It seems that we Americans are always open to a good party, especially one that brings some fun in the middle of the dismal winter days. Thus, Groundhog Day has become a popular festival, at least in some parts of the country. The what, when and how of this celebration is as follows:

According to Wikipedia, German settlers brought the folklore to Pennsylvania in the 1800’s from the studying the badger. Farmers would take note of the badger’s activity to know the ‘right’ time to plant their crops. Since badgers were scarce in Pennsylvania, German settlers used the groundhog in its place.

What is a groundhog?

Did you know that another name for a groundhog is ‘woodchuck’? Yes, and that makes it a member of the squirrel family. Do you remember this tongue-twister? Be sure to say it three times as quickly as you can.

How much wood,

Would a woodchuck chuck,

If a woodchuck

Could chuck wood?


As much wood

As a woodchuck would,

If a woodchuck

Could chuck wood.


Here are some additional facts about groundhogs:

Groundhogs are rodents who are primarily vegetarians. They get their hydration from eating large, leafy plants as their primary water source. They can swim and climb trees.

Groundhog Day is celebrated in Canada, as well. Their 'Punxy Phil' is called: Wiarton Willie and his home is in Wiarton, Ontario.

The word 'woodchuck' comes from the Algonquian word: 'wuchak'.

Groundhogs can be found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Georgia.


Looking for Punxsutawney Phil?

It appears that cities across the nation and in Canada, count on this little mammal to predict the weather. That is the sole purpose for Punxsutawney Phil’s existence. He is lavishly cared for 364 days a year for a one day performance on February 2, and the time of his grand appearance is always at sunrise. If you're wondering where the event takes place, it's where it has been happening every year since 1887-on a clearing in Gobblers Knob.

Did you know that the movie: Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murry and Andie MacDowell was never filmed in Gobblers Knob nor any part of Pennsylvania? No, the movie was shot in Woodstock, IL in 1993.

The most famous groundhog in history

Punxsutawney Phil Poses
Punxsutawney Phil Poses | Source

Where is Gobblers Knob?

Gobblers Knob is approximately two miles from Punxsutawney, PA.  The event takes place in a clearing where people gather around a stage, now permanently set up, that has a simulated tree stump-hinged door and all, for old Phil to saunter out.  But, don’t be alarmed, Phil is kept comfortable in a heat controlled burrow while waiting to make his prediction.  Too bad, his audience doesn’t have it that nice.  If you should decide to witness Punxy Phil’s saunter into the light, you will have to be dressed warmly with hats, gloves, scarves and winter coats.  While the area offers a bonfire, temperatures will be freezing. 

The gates of Gobblers Knob open early: 3:00 a.m. and by 8:00 a.m. they will close once more.  But, if you take a trip to Punxsutawney, population less about 6700, you will have plenty to do on the days preceding the 2nd of February. 

Gobblers Knob-How to Get There

show route and directions
A markerGobblers Knob 1548 woodland ave, 15767 -
1548 Woodland Ave, Punxsutawney, PA 15767, USA
get directions

Gobblers Knob-Home of Punxsutawney Phil

B markerChamber of Commerce 102 West Mahong St. -
102 W Mahoning St, Punxsutawney, PA 15767, USA
get directions

Chamber of Commerce

A Groundhog and his Shadow...

If you head out to Gobblers Knob this year you will be participating in a celebration of Groundhog Day that is over a century old. While Punxy Phil is preening for his public prognostication, his audience will be entertained with food, music, and other festive fun culminating in fireworks.

Will Phil be frightened by his shadow this year and scurry back to his hole? Or, will the clouds overshadow the sun and fool Phil into thinking there will be only six more weeks of winter? Thus far, Phil’s weather predictions have averaged less than 50%; it may not be a reliable way to predict the weather, but Punxy Phil rates high on the popularity scale.

On Saturday, February 2, 2013 the folks in Gobblers Knob celebrated the 127th arrival of Groundhog Day. This yeah, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which foretells an early spring. We'll be waiting to find out if his prediction will come true.

Where does Punxy Phil, the Groundhog, live?

The town’s Inner Circle manages the Groundhog Day festivities, as well as the care for Phil and his mate, Phyllis. The Inner Circle is the group of men one sees sporting the top hats and tuxedos. They feed Phil, keep his habitat clean, and plan the annual event activitieshttp://www.groundhog.org They also promote fundraisers to help offset the cost for Phil and Phyllis’s room and board.

One way they do this is by offering a ‘Scholastic Celebration of Groundhog Day’ package for teachers and parents, $5.00 per 20 page packet. It is filled with educational activities and projects. To find out more you can go to the link: http://www.groundhog.org/

You may wonder, where do they keep Punxy Phil and his wife during the groundhog’s extended off season? Well, the Punxsutawney Memorial Library has built a special wing to house the groundhogs. The outside wall is glass to ensure a clear view for spectators who want to spot the animals between jobs. This wing is named the Ground Hog Zoo.


All About Punxsutawney Phil-the star of Ground Hog Day

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone. Go out and enjoy your own shadow boxing or stay in and enjoy a rerun of the comedy: Ground Hog Day.

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    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Very cute and informative hub! I really enjoyed it. I didn't know that the whole tradition came from Germans studying the badger. I would love to use those activities in my classroom on Wednesday but I'm completely expecting to have a snow day!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Hi again Denise, I just hope that the day does not repeat itself over and over and over again. Seriously this would be fun to do, I always that this would be cool. Rate this up peace & love darski

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Cara-feel free to use ANY info available here. Yes, I didn't know that either. Nor did I realize that it has been 'celebrated' for over a century. OR, that the film was not made in that town. But, that isn't surprising. Yes, two thumbs up for the winter storm and staying at home instead of teaching that day. Yahoo! LOL

      Darski-yes, I often refer to things that get repeated as 'groundhog day'. It seems to be a catch phrase now. Take care. Thanks for your rating.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      good hub. I well remember that wood chuck poem and used to say it to my kids - much to their chagrin!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Delightful hub! As a New Englander who has faced 4.75 feet of snow accumulation thus far, I hope and pray that Phil’s prediction is more accurate and promising this year. (Go Phil!:)

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL Yes, I remember that old rhyme and couldn't resist adding it. Thanks for reading, and getting those memories jogged, sister! Remember dad chanting it? Sometimes it was soooo annoying, LOL

      Hi Genna, OMG I am soooo sorry for you. I know Michigan, where my kids and grandkids live, is about to get piled on. I will say a prayer that this year will be a quick spring! Thanks for reading.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      I went last year to celebrate a friends birthday, born on ground hogs day. It was SO COLD! You gave a good description of what to expect!

      I'm setting here wearing my Groundhog Day shirt I got there! Cool hub about Gobblers Knob!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Katie, stay warm.

    • amybradley77 profile image

      amybradley77 6 years ago

      Hi there Denise, I just adore this Holiday for many reason's but the main one being that this animal is thought to have the power to predict our weather, why not. I always cheer for an early spring even though it never happens, I do it anyway. A.B.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL I love your spirit Amy!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Ahh! Puxsutawney Phil.. from my all time favourite film. I would love to go there, Denise. thanks for the info..

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Docmo-what a great surprise to see you stop by here. Thanks for your comments. I hope you are able to make your trip to see Puxsy Phil one day. Take care.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 6 years ago

      Denise nice history lesson there - I still just keep seeing Bill Murray though - Groundhog Day can be a lot of fun - nothing like a 50/50 weather prediction :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Billy-nice to see you here. I agree...I can never again think of gh day w/o remembering Bill and the movie. It really is a catch phrase now in our home. Thanks for visiting the hub and commenting.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Some reason for a celebration, this is information that I have absolutely no cue about.... the ground hog turned weather man! ..thanks Denise I enjoyed reading this hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL Oh Sofs, it is soooo American. any reason to party but the funny thing is that it is over a hundred years of celebrating this silly day. Thanks for reading. :)

    • profile image

      AnnieRoseVA 6 years ago

      Denise, great hub - very informative! My daughter and I were going to go this year. We had planned to get up in the middle of the night and drive to be there by 3:00 or 4:00 AM, but an ice storm came in that night, so we stayed snug in our warm home. Next year we are thinking of reserving rooms, which I hear you have to do way ahead of time, so we can be right there.

      We have our own groundhog in the backyard hill and woods. We've named him Wally and it looks like there is a Wilomena too. He did not come out to prognosticate however, but is snug in one of the burrows. He is a funny one though - sits on the back deck and just gazes around in the warm months.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL I loved your comments, AR. I'm excited for you-to even consider braving the winter dark to be part of the groundhog festivities says a lot about your stamina. Good for you and I say, GO FOR IT! next year. Get those rooms and you'll be sitting pretty atop Gobblers Knob come Feb 2nd!

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for bringing us some new information about groundhogs. We don't have them in Australia and only found out about Groundhog Day through the movie, which I've seen over and over. Great Hub Denise.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Karanda-thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I discovered those tidbits doing the research for this hub. :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Interesting hub. It is also one of my favourite movies :o)

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm with you, Jools-I loved that movie. I almost added one of the scenes, but I found this other one that seemed more specific to the subject. I just got it in a bit late for a revamp. :) Enjoy your w/e.

    • web923 profile image

      Bill Blackburn 4 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

      This was great! Groundhog day was one of my all time favorite movies and I view it as a metaphor for life. It's not about the world changing to suit us; it's about us changing for the better and then the world with change. I really enjoyed the reminisce. Thank you!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi web923-I use the phrase, 'groundhog day' when I get the repetitive questions from my nephew, or if he does the same thing with the same results, over and over again. Thanks for your wonderful metaphor. :)

      I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Happy w/e to you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      A "Ground Hog Day" very interesting. This one is new to me, thanks for sharing and enjoyed reading.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I forgot to check and see if my friends up north observed the groundhog shadow. The had over 3 inches of snow so doubtful the groundhog came out to even check for the sun. Very nicely done and thanks for the background information on this holiday.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Vellur, my friend, it is an 'All American' holiday. A silly day and way to celebrate the coming of spring. Thanks for stopping by.

      Hi Dianne, the news in PA is that Punxy Phil did not see his shadow this year, so there will be an early spring. (yeah, right, ha ha). Thanks for your comments.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      I loved this hub. Just the other day my kid was asking in depth about it and I made him read this.

      voted up as interesting and useful, Denise.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Ruchira-wow, I'm glad this hub helped your son gain some information. Thanks for sharing it with him. :)

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