Don't you just love that word? Such a big word about such a little rodent. LOL That's what my DH calls the groundhog. The rodent or the rat. This past weekend was quite the eye-opener. The town of Punxsutawney, PA, pulls out all the stops to celebrate this little animal that lives in the Groundhog Zoo with two other groundhog pals, Barney and Stinky. Our family decided to join the festivities this year. We started out Saturday morning at "Breakfast With Phil". The event was hosted by the Chamber. The guy holding Phil is Ben Hughes, one of Phil's handlers. He was also the guy that got Phil out of his stump this past Tuesday morning to check for his shadow. After breakfast, the kids had swimming lessons so we did that, then returned to the community center for "Phil" crafts. They made snowflakes from coffee filters, "prediction" posters and black top hats. The posters were cute. The kids got to decorate with stickers of Phil seeing his shadow or not, there was a sun or clouds and sticker phrases like, "Six more weeks of winter" and "Spring comes early". The top hats were cute too. They looked like those worn by the guys in the Inner Circle.
The following day we spent at Jack's wrestling tournament. This was another unbelievable event. There had to be close to a hundred kids from 5 or 6 different schools, all competing against one another. It was amazing, walking into the gym and looking at all the kids sitting in the bleachers, heads tilted down, eyes intent on their Nintendo DS's.
Monday morning, we headed over to Barclay Square for Groundhog Day festivities to see a magic show, followed by a puppet show. Here you'll see a pic of the magician working his magic with a cloth bag and some handkerchiefs. Aren't the groundhog hats on the kids adorable? The magician's wife did the puppet show and she had some of the coolest marionette puppets. She made each one from items around the house; things she was going to throw out, such as the styrofoam packing from a t.v. box. There was an Italian opera singer puppet made from olive oil, diced tomatoes and sardine cans. Afterward, the magician made each child balloon animals. Jack, a new groundhog balloon hat and snake and Angie, a balloon puppy.
A few more walks through the park and we caught up with a full-size groundhog. Not the real Phil, but a cute imposter. The kids played some carnival-type games, like balloon dart pop and choose the duck and they won some prizes. They had all kinds of food; pizza, funnel cakes, kettle corn; there was live music, souvenir huts, Groundhog Banquets, craft fairs and warming huts. Yes, the strangest thing about this event is the fact that it's the middle of winter! There were more activities to do, like Groundhog painting class, a hayride town tour, ice carving demonstrations but we didn't stick around for those. The kids were anxious to go see their cousins, but more importantly, the cousin's new puppy! So, we walked back to the car with our treasured prizes, happy for spending some time celebrating Groundhog Day in the Weather Capitol of the world. It was a fun weekend and something we might repeat again, maybe when the kids are older and can handle the trek out to Gobbler's Knob for the official prognostication with Phil. Until then, the fun around town suits us just fine.