Groundhog Day is already a bit of an oddball tradition. A groundhog? Predicting the weather? Seems strange.
What’s even weirder? Although Groundhog Day is primarily associated with Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and the most elite of all transcendental groundhogs, Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog Day has taken roots all across America. While most citizens rightly tune into The Weather Channel for the most accurate predictions, some have taken it a step further off the beaten path by creating Groundhog Day traditions of their own.
Here are some of the weirdest Groundhog Day celebrations across the country. Know some of your own? Post them in the comments!
- While the big celebrations happen in Punxsutawney, PA, the Pennsylvania Dutch have traditions of their own. The Slumbering Groundhog Lodge in Quarryville, PA hosts a parade with their own groundhog, Octorara Orphie, drawing hundreds of people. Each year, a new member is initiated into the lodge by getting dunked into the Octoraro Creek. There’s 17 of these groundhog lodges, or Grundsau Lodges, across the state. It’s said that they host a “fersommling”, or gathering, where not a word of English is spoken, with the intent of preserving the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and culture.
- Buffalo, New York decided that if Punxsutawney, PA is known as the ‘Weather Capital’ of the world for their Groundhog Day events, then Buffalo is the “Winter Capital’ due to its harsh winter climate, and therefore needed it’s own celebration. With the help of mascot “Buffalo Mack”, Buffalo celebrates at The Flying Bison Brewing Company, and donates the proceeds of the event to various local animal groups around the city.
- As an homage to their town being the film backdrop for the classic American movie, Groundhog Day, Woodstock, Illinois celebrates the holiday with an array of activities: Awakening of the Groundhog Ceremony at the Woodstock Opera House, Groundhog Trivia, Woodstock Willie’s Beer Party, a chili cookoff, Groundhog Day movie showings, a Groundhog Day dinner dance, “Groundhog Tales” by Storyteller Jim May, and walking tours complete with a “Bill Murray Stepped Here” plaque. The tour visits the location of 14 iconic shots from the film, and travelers can even stay in the hotel that Murray so famously woke up in (over and over again).
- Just like their European predecessors, who had to adapt when they couldn’t find a badger, the inhabitants of Snohomish County, Washington had to take a page out of the original Groundhog Day playbook and get creative when faced with a scarcity of groundhogs. If you’re on the West Coast for Groundhog Day, you might have the pleasure of celebrating the, equally as lavish, Groundfrog Day. Named after the famous race horse “Seattle Slew,” “Snohomish Slew” provides his own weather prediction, while guests take part in family-friendly activities.