Groundhog Day festivities expected to draw thousands to Gobbler's Knob for Punxsutawney Phil

Groundhog handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil after he saw his shadow during the 126th annual Groundhog Day festivities Feb. 2, 2012, in Punxsutawney, Pa. Getty Images

PORT MATILDA, Pa. It's just about time for Punxsutawney Phil to emerge from Gobbler's Knob.

Groundhog Day is Saturday, and the west-central Pennsylvania community of Punxsutawney holds the biggest winter-weather prognostication celebration.

"It's a Saturday, and we anticipate the population of Punxsatawney to swell by six-fold," former Groundhog Inner Circle Vice President Mike Johnston told CBS Pittsburgh station KDKA-AM. "Come early and dress warm — the number one complaint we have is cold feet since you're standing on bare ground."

Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow, winter will last for six more weeks. No shadow means an early spring.

Phil's got company. Groundhogs in New York, Atlanta and Ontario also make predictions.

But Punxsutawney partisans say Phil is the original and the best. Molly Neal, a Punxsutawney native and teacher in State College, baked groundhog-shaped cookies and showered students with stories in Groundhog Day class presentations that have turned into an annual tradition.

Organizers say about 20,000 people are expected this weekend, a larger-than-normal crowd because Groundhog Day falls on a weekend this year.

Comments