Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Ground Hogs Day From Punxsutawney, PA

The In-Laws got into Pittsburgh on Sunday and we all drove into Punxy on Monday morning. We are staying at the famous Pantall Hotel (pretty underwhelmed by the front of house staff, but otherwise, I'm glad we are here). This is the hotel where the cast and crew of Groundhog's Day stayed while filming. We explored the town yesterday and in the evening we attended the "Inner Circle" Banquet.
The Inner Circle are the folks in charge of this town's most famous denizen, Punxsutawney Phil, the Prognosticator of Prognosticator, the King of the Ground Hogs.
It was a small town event held in the high school cafeteria so it had some quirky charm and the emcee was hilarious. They went around the room of roughly 500 people and spoke with those of us who traveled great distances to be here. Being from Texas, they called us out and asked us if we had any celebrations like this one down there. I think I threw him for a loop with my answer..."None where the Hog comes out Alive!" Half the room quickly sucked in air, the rest cracked up. He quickly moved on to California. Slight Faux Pas?

Stephen Tobolowsky, AKA Ned Ryerson from the movie Grounghog's Day, BING, was the guest speaker. He was funny and extremely personable. I hadn't connected it until last night that his last name in the movie is the same as his last name in Glee. Here's a picture of my wife and daughter with him.

We woke up around 3 am today to get ready to go down to Gobbler's Knob for Phil's big appearance. It was roughly 2 degrees (yes that's a single digit, not a typo) so we had lots and lots of layers. I wore the kiddo in a Moby Wrap for most of the 5 hour festivities. I think there were about 15,000 people on that hill watching cheesy jr. high dancers ("sometimes I question your commitment to Sparkle Motion"), wacky emcees and a really long fireworks show waiting for Phil to make his weather prediction.
Around 7:20 as the crowd chanted, PHIL, PHIL, PHIL, PHIL, the furry weatherman came out of his hole at the Knob and saw his shadow. The Inner Circle President, Bill Deeley, listened to Phil's prognostication and announced there will be 6 more weeks of Winter!

Once we got back to the hotel, we went to breakfast where Phil did a meet and greet with everyone. It's been a trip that I'll not soon forget, but I am most definitely ready to enjoy the warmth of Texas, snuggled in my own bed.

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