For some people (especially those who hate winter), it is the most important day. To others, it's just their favorite Bill Murray movie.
No matter what your association is with it, you know what Groundhog Day is. You may not be familiar with Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania, where the event occurs every year.
History of Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day, however, is a bit different. Since 1886, Punxsutawney Phil is woken up at Gobbler's Knob by members of the Inner Circle of Punxsutawney (a group of white men considered "dignitaries" in the town who wear top hats). According to legend, the resident groundhog is given a special elixir that makes him immortal. Then, well, we'll let the official "Phil FAQ" explain what happens next:
Phil's forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle). His proclamation is then translated for the world.
And thus, his prognostication is known.
The first event in 1886 sparked public interest. Now, people from all over the world travel to Gobbler's Knob for Groundhog Day. In 2021, it was the first year that the public was not allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
About Gobbler's Knob
Gobbler's Knob is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania -- dubbed the "weather capital of the world," thanks to this great event. An hour and a half from Pittsburgh and Jefferson County, Punxsutawney is most famous for its February 2nd events.
Located at 1548 Woodland Avenue Punxsutawney, PA 15767, Gobbler's Knob is a half-mile hike from the parking area. The trail has signage throughout with information about Groundhog Day and metal art displays, making for a pleasant outing. You can stop into the Gobbler's Knob Visitor Center at the start of the trail, open year-round, Thursday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.
Going to the Groundhog Day Celebration
Seeing Punxsutawney Phil predict the weather is on a lot of people's bucket lists. The celebrations have evolved through the years and are quite a sight to behold. Put on by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, people gather in the wee hours of the morning for the event. Some buses will take you up to Gobbler's Knob, or you can make the trek on the trail, which is less crowded, but it can be pretty cold.
Typically, several events are surrounding Groundhog Day for the whole family to enjoy.
Things to Do in Punxsutawney
Although the spotlight is on Punxsutawney in the winter, it is a great place to visit any time of year. Here are some highlights:
One of the great reasons to visit Gobbler's Knob is that you can see it year-round. Punxsutawney lies in the lush forests of western Pennsylvania, so it's no surprise the borough has a beautiful trail to hike. The Gobbler's Knob Trail is four-tenths of a mile from trailhead to trailhead, features minimal elevation gain and plenty of informational signage contributed by the community.
The Mahoning Shadow Trail is also available to Punxsutawney visitors looking for a longer trek through Pennsylvania backcountry. Only a mile of the trail is paved--the rest is crushed limestone, so it may not be an excellent trail for biking.
Learn all about the town and the history of Groundhog day at the Historical and Genealogical Society.
The "ultimate destination to learn how the science and folklore of weather prediction collide!" Their interactive exhibits include tornados, thunderstorms, weather folklore, precipitation, weather forecasting technology, and weather emergency readiness.
Located in nearby Brookville, the Blackbird Distillery, you can get your moonshine fix after learning all about the history of Groundhog Day.
Held on the first Saturday in October every year, the Gobbler's Knob Wine Festival showcases local and regional wines, and, of course, special guest Punxsy Phil makes an appearance!
For more information, visit the official website.
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