February 2 is Groundhog Day, so for a fun family trip, make the trek to Punxsutawney to join in the celebration. Punxsutawney is in central Pennsylvania and is about a 5-hour drive from Center City Philadelphia. Getting there provides a nice scenic drive across the central region of our state. This year, Groundhog Day is on a Sunday, making it easier to attend the festivities!
Phil's Prediction at Gobbler's Knob
On the morning of Groundhog Day, if you want to trek out to Gobbler’s Knob for the groundhog's weather prediction, make sure you are ready for the cold weather. The festivities begin way before sunrise when the gates open at 3 am. A bonfire is set up, but no shelter is available, and it can get very cold out in the woods before sunrise. You should come with multilayered winter gear, including coats, gloves, hats, blankets, foot and hand warmers, and so on. Young children should not attend. However, young kids can enjoy the activities afterward throughout the town.
If you are staying overnight in the area, it is best to take a bus from your hotel because parking is limited. An area is set up at the Knob for people with disabilities that includes accommodations for wheelchair users. Admission to Gobbler’s Knob is free.
Music and dancing get the crowd ramped up for Phil's appearance. Then just after sunrise, Phil appears, helped by the Inner Circle--those men in top hats and tuxes. The focus is on Phil as he makes his prediction--6 more weeks of winter or not?
The Day and Night in Downtown Punxy
After Phil’s prognostication, head into downtown Punxsutawney for a diverse array of fun groundhog-related activities. A recent addition to the festivities is a 40 ft by 60 ft heated celebration tent in the town square. The tent will be full of activities such as music performances, a scavenger hunt, a chain saw carver, art displays, and vendors.
Also visit the the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center and various souvenir shops throughout town.
At night, attend one of the celebratory dinners such as the Groundhog Ball.
The official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club provides a good guide to attending the festivities at Things to Know if You're Planning to Attend and provides a list of events. This year, the festivities run from January 31 through February 2.
For more information, also visit:
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club