Partying with the Patriotic Prognosticator

Here in our part of the northeast, the daffodils are prematurely pushing through the earth in what seems to have been the winter that wasn’t (or isn’t).  However, according to one popular and patriotic prognosticator . . . we’re not quite done yet!

On February 2nd – better known as Groundhog Day – the Seer of Seers Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania and forecasted six more weeks of winter. Although his day was busy with press interviews, autographs and parties commemorating the 126th year of folks trekking up to the Knob, he and members of the Groundhog’s Club Inner Circle were kind enough to host Our Dad’s Flag as it continues to travel through the US in honor of our troops!

Our Dad’s Flag with Punxsutawney Phil and Ron Ploucha, Stump Warden & Co-Handler, member of the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle

Many thanks to the Seer himself Phil, Katie Donald, Event Coordinator for Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney and to all the members of the Inner Circle for the tribute to our Dad and all the great folks in the US Armed forces!

Agree to Disagree

2012 will go down in history as a contentious year because Phil’s fellow burrow-dwelling-hibernating-leaf-eating-forecasting marmots Wiarton Willie of Ontario, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, and Staten Island Chuck all failed to see their shadows. They are putting their money on the earlier buds and greens of spring (all yummy to a groundhog of course!) Punxsy Phil, on the other paw, was more interested in returning to his burrow for a few more weeks of napping.

Die Voraussagentradition (The Forecast Tradition)

We need to thank Germany for a few things including; Ludwig van Beethoven, BMW cars, apple streudel, Albert Einstein, the German Shepherd, and the fine traditions of Oktoberfest and Groundhog Day.  Vielen Dank Deutschland! (Thank you Germany!)

In the 1800’s, German settlers brought many of their cultural traditions, beliefs and folklore to America. Back home in Germany, they had relied on their observations of hedgehog activity following hibernation as a sign that spring is coming and based it on the traditional date of Candlema’s Day. This way they’d know when to start working on their land and start seeding.  When they settled in Pennsylvania, the groundhog was the closest local critter-equivalent to the hedgehog. This tradition started up in America over 120 years ago and has put Punxsutawney on our  “must see” map — the wee bit of a town about 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh, now famous for their furry, national treasure.

Need More Punxsy?

Our Dad's Flag at Gobbler's Knob.

Each year, thousands of people gather in Punxsutawney – the weather capital of the world – to be part of the Groundhog Day celebrations and be first to know: shadow or no? It is recommended that folks gather at 3:30 am to get a good spot at Gobbler’s Knob, home of the oak stump where Punxsutawney Phil emerges from every February 2nd. The night-into-day Groundhog Day celebration is hosted by the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle who are a top-hatted fraternity whose members are responsible for carrying on such a great tradition, throwing the event’s wild fun and keeping Phil safe, comfy and well-fed.  

Be sure to visit http://www.groundhog.org/ for the full Groundhog Day experience, watch You Tube videos of this year’s prediction, feed your need for more history, and get great printable activities for the home or classroom.  The site also has information on membership for the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and a great link to the most comprehensive collection of groundhog souvenirs  we’ve ever seen!

If you think about it, six more weeks of winter . . . As of this publish date we’re already two down and only four more to go. Is there hope for the daffodils?!?!

Like it? Love it? Want more of it?

We’ve got some more exciting visits coming up so stay tuned as Our Dad’s Flag continues to travel the US promoting patriotism . . . Comments? Use the link below. Questions? Email ourdadsflag@yahoo.com. Be sure to share this, tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. The more the merrier on this awesome trip! Thanks for reading.  

P.S.  – Did you know?

The Groundhog is part of the large ground squirrel family and is also known as the whistle pig (yep, because they grunt and make a whistling sound when threatened or excited) and the woodchuck (who really do chuck wood in the recent GEICO commercial — enjoy this gratuitous ad/video for a good laugh! Thanks CB!)  

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One Response to Partying with the Patriotic Prognosticator

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey! We here in Dunkirk have our own famous groundhog! “Dunkirk Dave” is known to many all across our area. Unfortunately, he forecasted winter for six more weeks of winter as well. Oh well, I only like weather in the 80s anyway.

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