Obviously the greatest thing about Groundhog Day is Groundhog Day the movie, but since the annual tradition is upon us, here are a few Groundhog Day facts you can amuse your co-workers with around the water cooler tomorrow.
How long have people been celebrating Groundhog Day? It dates back to at least the mid-19th century. The first mention of the occasion was spotted in an 1840 diary entry from Pennsylvania Dutch Country (motto: come for the furniture craftsmanship, stay for the fudge. Shout out to Dutch Wonderland!) If you're reading this as an Amish kid out on rumspringa, "diary entry" = "paper Tweets".
Who cares about Groundhog Day? Apparently the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, ground zero for this annual celebration. Before the movie Groundhog Day only about 2,000 revelers on average gathered in Punxsutawney for the annual event, but since the 1993 release of the Bill Murray classic, attendance has swelled to tens of thousands of people. The crowds have been as large as 40,000 people, nearly 8 times the year-round population of Punxsutawney.
Does this weather-predicting rodent have a mischievous side? He sure seems to! During the Prohibition Era in the U.S. Punxsutawney Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter if he wasn't allowed to drink. Sounds like our kind of quadruped!
Is Punxsutawney Phil the only weather-predicting critter in the game? Nope! Staten Island has their own groundhog named Staten Island Chuck (real name: Charles G. Hogg). Chuck has been predicting weather at the Staten Island Zoo for over 30 years. According to the Staten Island Zoo, Chuck has an accuracy rate of nearly 80% with his predictions. Maybe we should be following this less famous weather wizard, since according to Stormfax Alamanac’s data Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions only have a 39% accuracy rate. Clearly all that booze he extorted in exchange for shorter winters during Prohibition affected his meteorological prowess.
Do I need to travel all the way to Punxsutawney to marvel at this ridiculous groundhog-themed spectacle? Only if you want to catch up with Ned Ryerson (alias Needle-Nose Ned, alias Ned The Head, etc.). For everyone else, there's a live broadcast of the Groundhog Day celebration that starts at 3am tomorrow morning. We'll be celebrating Groundhog Day from warm & sunny SoCal with a plate of nachos and a viewing of Groundhog Day from the couch.
That's it for this week! Enjoy whatever Groundhog Day festivities you engage in tomorrow and over the weekend, and until next time...
Peace, love, and nachos,