Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania has competition. Stiff competition. Phil may have been a star in the movie Groundhog Day but there are other woodchucks who have a following.
There’s Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, WI; General Beauregard Lee in Lilburn, GA; Smith Lake Jake in Birmingham, AL; and Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh, N.C. And that’s just for starters. What I discovered when I went poking around is that Groundhog Day is indeed a tourist draw. You have to love the fun of loving a groundhog. Punxsutawney has the festivities down pat. They’ve been going on all week. In Canada, though, Wiarton Willie is the famous one. In 2002, The Wiarton Willie Festival won the distinction as the Greatest Festival on Earth by Festivals.com. One year, when one of the Willies died before the event, a stuffed replica was used as a funeral stand-in. You have to read the story.
All of the groundhogs mentioned are making appearances on February 2 to let us know how long winter will last. For more groundhog fun, check out 123.Holiday.net. There are even some songs to learn. And here are some more groundhog events in other parts of the U.S. to give you more travel options.