Our Adventures in Punxsutawney seeing the Prognosticator of Prognosticators

On Friday, two of my friends and I left for Punxsutawney.  My friend's birthday is February 2nd, and she's always wanted to go to Punxsutawney for Groundhog's day.  It turns out, it's a pretty popular thing to do if your birthday just so happens to be Groundhog's day.  My friend booked her room back in the fall and asked us if we wanted to go and we said "Yes."   She got the last room available when she booked hers and we were about 20 miles from Punxsutawney.
The whole weekend was quite the adventure!  It turns out that it's the 20 year anniversary of the movie "Groundhog's Day".  So, between that anniversary and the fact that it fell on a weekend this year, there were quite a few people.  They were expecting somewhere around 30,000 people.  It seems the arctic weather didn't scare too many people away.

We had fun on Friday night, because, well. . . . . . . . we were three moms who were able to escape, er, I mean have a weekend away with "just the girls."  We ended up at a restaurant called "Dirty Ehrma's" that was pretty close to where we were staying.

 We accidentally found it.  We had seen a sign that we thought said "Beer District", that we thought was a bar.  It turns out it was a Beer Distributor.  Apparently, you can buy beer in drive-throughs in PA.  We asked the guys who worked there where we should eat and he recommended Dirty Ehrma's. 
When we walked in, the place was packed.  The girl asked if we had reservations, which was funny to us.  To us, it seemed like a little hole in the wall bar.  But, apparently they have good food and the locals must love it.  They were having all you can eat crablegs for $25.  But, we just got burgers and fries or sandwiches.  The food was good and we were able to sit at the bar and have a couple of beers. 
We went to bed fairly early on Friday night because we had to get up at 3:40 in the morning on Saturday.  We bundled up, ate breakfast and went to town!

You are able to catch the bus up to "Gobbler's Knob" at three different places in Punxsutawney from 3:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the morning.  We weren't sure what to expect, so we didn't want to wait until the last minute to catch the bus.  We caught the shuttle at Punxsutawney Plaza, which they called the "Aldis" stop.

 It was much easier and less crowded than the WalMart bus stop.  The ticket for the bus was $5 and you could use it all day. 

And, look!  I made a new friend on the bus. 
By the time we got up to the knob at 5:30, it was already packed.  And the official temperature was 1 degree.  One of the members of the Inner Circle wears a hat with a thermometer on it. Punxsutawney is the weather capital of the world, by the way!

 They had different things happening on the stage.  We watched a rendition of "Punxy Groundhog Style", which I could not get out of my head after that point.  So, here for you and your viewing pleasure is the only video of it I could find on YouTube. 
(video has been removed)
 After Punxy Groundhog Style, the Boos Brothers, some Pizza Acrobatics and a really quick lesson from the local EMS on how to do the new Hands Only CPR, it was time for Fireworks!  They shoot fireworks off around 6:30 before it starts to become light out.   It was a spectacular show that seemed to go on forever.  The cold weather killed the batteries in my camera, so I wasn't able to take many pictures on "the Knob".    I'm sad I didn't get any pictures of the crowd or the fireworks. 

After the fireworks and a couple other miscellaneous things, it was time to introduce the members of the Inner Circle and get down to business.  As I'm sure you've heard by now, Phil did NOT see his shadow.   When the man from the Inner Circle read the prediction, there were hoots and hollers and even tears from the crowd.  It was amazing.  Here's a video that my friend took of the actual "No Shadow" prediction.

 And we were inclined to believe what Phil predicted, because by the time we went to dinner last night, the temps had risen to 23 degrees!!!  That's a full 22 degree increase from the beginning of the morning.

To leave "The Knob", you can either take the walking path back into town or take the shuttles back.   Because of the 30,000 people, it took quite a while standing in lines to make it onto a shuttle.  We decided to get dropped off in town instead of going back to our car because they have shuttles that run from downtown back to all of the shuttle stops until 3:00. 

We went to the community center so that my friend could get her Birthday goodies.  They have a special Birthday gift, cake and punch if you celebrate a birthday on Groundhog's Day.  They have a little arts and craft show in the same building. 

After that, we found a bar and had a couple beers.  And then I realized it was only 11:00 in the morning.  But, we had been up so long it seemed like much later in the day.  By the time we got out of the bar, it was snowing.  So, we walked back to the square where they had tents set up with a wood carver and a blacksmith and various food carts. 

We got some yummy, although a little too sweet for me, pulled pork sandwiches.  We took our sandwiches into a tent where they had different things going on throughout the day.  Punxsutawney Phil and his handlers were there signing autographs at that point.  And then they were going to be having a magic show and balloon animal maker for the kids. 

Also on the square is the library, where Phil stays during the year. 

By the time we finished our sandwiches, we needed to go catch the bus back to our car because we bought tickets to a Groundhog Trail Wine tasting.

 We did not realize when we bought the tickets that it was a 45 minute drive to the Fairgrounds, where the wine tasting was being held.  It was fun.  But, it seems like most PA wines are on the sweet side and I prefer a dry or semi-dry wine. 

After that, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.   We called the front desk to find out where we should eat and ended up at a restaurant that serves Italian and Greek food.  The food was good.  But, my dish was supposed to be made with Penne pasta, and it showed up with Spaghetti.  So, I was  a little disappointed, but it was still yummy.  The restaurant had a bar downstairs, so we got a pitcher and played darts.  I stink at darts!  And we found out our friend does NOT stink at darts.  We think she's a dart sharp (or shark, whichever you prefer!) 

This morning, we woke up and went back into Punxsutawney to get a couple souvenirs for our kids.  And we watched a woman teach us how stained glass is made. 

There are 32 statues of Phil all over Punxsutawney.  We saw several of them, however we did not find all 32.  Here are the ones we got pictures of.

Overall, it was a very fun trip.  We laughed almost the entire time, except for when were freezing or tired.  And even then, we were laughing most of the time. 
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