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Gobbler\'s Knob- CK
Gobbler\'s Knob- CK
Original photo by Caroline Kannapell
Life

A Morning In Punxsutawney

February 2 for most is a regular Tuesday, but for folks in Punxsutawney, Pa., it is the greatest day of the year. As one of the most underrated holidays, though just as unique, Groundhog Day is a 135 year old celebration adored by the residents of Punxsutawney, Pa. 

The small town tucked in central Pennsylvania gears up for their special holiday all year by organizing performances, special acts and so much more to make the early morning of February 2 memorable for all who make the journey. 

As someone who has always revered the celebration yet had no opportunity to check it out, I knew I had to make the journey from Penn State to Punxsutawney. Seeing that such an opportunity was at hand, I knew I would never have the same chance to make my way to the town of the Groundhog. 

In the early hours of February 2, after a couple snoozes of my 2 a.m. alarm, I was up and ready to see Phil himself. Though, nothing quite prepared me for the elaborate spectacle I was going to experience following the quick hour and a half drive up north. 

Many tunes and a couple of energy drinks later, three other groundhog enthusiasts and I arrived in the quiet town of Punxsutawney. Not only were the streets adorned with Phil paraphernalia, but there was a sense of excitement in the air. 

Passing not one, not two, but three groundhog statues dressed in various attire, we made our way to the shuttles provided to take the spectators to the location of the event, Gobbler’s Knob. A clearing in the woods, with one purpose, the site of weather prediction by the nation’s favorite critter, Phil. 

Groundhogs Day-ck
Original photo by Caroline Kannapell

After a short shuttle ride, we arrived at the Knob, and what a sight it was to see. Not only were there nearly 500 people, but we were met with the sound of cheering, singing and overall happiness. It was quite the unexplainable feeling of joy that I don’t typically get to experience at 5 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. 

So much was going on that it was overwhelming to take it all in. On the main stage, a couple was getting married. To the left there were photo-ops with members of the “Inner Circle,” the gentlemen dressed in coats and top hats who organize the festivities. Behind us, there was a bonfire to warm spectators in the 25 degree weather. There was absolutely not lack of activities in Punxsutawney.

As the morning crept on, the excitement of the crowd grew. The two hype men, who were singing and performing various songs from the National Anthem to “I’ve Got Bills I got to Pay,” were pumping up the crowd as the hours ticked on. Not only did I get to see fire twirlers, but I had the opportunity to sing a version of God Bless America, subbed in with Punxsutawney. When 6:30 a.m. rolled around, the real show began with an unbelievable firework show, incomparable to any past 4th of July celebration. This was the last push before the big event, and it was truly incredible. 

Fireworks-ck
Original photo by Caroline Kannapell

As the sun crept over the tall trees of Gobbler’s Knob, the official ceremony was underway. The “Inner Circle” lined the stage, each noting their weather themed nicknames, from Ozone to Shutter Shaker, and explained how the event would take place. Anticipation peaked when the president of the “Inner Circle” retrieved Phil for his prediction. 

Unfortunately, the prediction was not as many hoped, and so we are stuck with six more weeks of winter. Though it wasn’t the outcome we hoped, Punxsutawney treated us well and a return trip is most definitely in order for next year. 

Current Junior at PSU UP. I live right outside of DC in Bethesda, MD and I am on track to be an Advertising and Public Relations major with a minor in Business I love sitcoms, stand-up and spend my time hanging out with friends and traveling.
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