Imagine an entire town run by a whistle pig. If you’re unsure of what this is, try looking up a land beaver, a woodchuck—or as the people of Punxsutawney call it, a groundhog. An entire day is dedicated to this little creature and as journalist Zak Lantz puts it, “…our little town has been transformed into a booming metropolis for the day.”
Hopatcong English teacher and Groundhog Day enthusiast Mrs. DeRose and family, took a trip to the hamlet of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to witness the rodentia forecast the weather and partake in the festivities. She arrived on Saturday night and attended an Inner Circle banquet at the Punxsutawney High school. The Inner circle is a group of men adorned in top hats and tuxedos who appear on television and who deal directly with the groundhog. At the banquet, the “Woman of year” and “Man of the year” were announced; the high school king and queen were also presented. Jen Carfagno from the weather channel appeared and said: “We (the weather channel) came here at first to report…now we came back for the reunion.” She reminded everyone that Punxsutawney was the weather capital of t e world and pointed out that all of the services were out of passion.
The “DeRosi” sat with a family native to Punxsutawney. According to this family, “Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney is an all-year-around endeavor for the people who live here. The townspeople work around the clock to pull off an event that brings at least thirty thousand people.” The town of Punxsutawney itself is only made to hold about seven thousand people, so in order to move around thirty thousand efficiently, it takes about five hundred town volunteers.
The DeRose family woke up at 2:00 am to catch a 2:30 shuttle to the Punxsutawney event. From there, they caught another shuttle bus to make it to the event, which started at 3:00 am.
DeRose stated: “I thought to myself, what the heck are we going to do for four-and-a-half hours, until Phil makes his appearance?”
At the event, there was a bluegrass band, two dancing masters of ceremony, and a group of girls who belonged to the Punxsutawney High School; according to DeRose, the girls entertained everyone by dancing and preforming skits. Around 6:30 am, the lights went out; then began a half hour firework show, to the music of Star Wars.
“It was an amazing site in the white fog of dusk. It was just as good, if not better, than any fireworks display I’ve seen,” said DeRose.
Promptly at 7:15 am, the members of Phil’s Inner Circle began the official ceremony with their annual “Trek to Gobbler’s Knob.” They worked their way through the crowd to take stage by Phil and his stump.
“I would recommend that everyone puts Punxsutawney Groundhog Day on their bucket list. It’s an awesome and spirited occasion where a crowd comes together for great and silly fun,” said DeRose. “My sister-in-law, Phylis DeRose, gave us Punxsutawny as a Christmas gift. I doubt I will ever receive a more creative gift,” added DeRose.