PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and now we are set for six more weeks of winter!
The ceremony took place from Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, is made possible by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office's Holi-stay PA. The event there — always Feb. 2 — dates back to 1887.
The spectacle still went on, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, revelers weren’t able to see him and celebrate in person: This year, it’s all virtual.
A livestream, which had more than 15,000 viewers at one point, played footage from previous Groundhog Day's ahead of the big reveal.
Phil this year, like many years in the past, gave his forecast during a major snowstorm that's hitting the entire Northeast.
“Whether you're hoping for six more weeks of winter fun or an early spring, we could all use some extra happiness this year,” said department spokesperson Carrie Lepore in a release.
“Groundhog Day is a beloved Pennsylvania tradition that has been embraced wholeheartedly by Phil’s faithful fans from around the world for generations,” said Governor Tom Wolf in a press release. “Although we couldn’t celebrate together in person this year, viewers could experience the magic of Phil’s prediction virtually by watching from their homes while prioritizing everyone’s health and safety.”
Phil's prediction is already decided in advance of the event though, by a group of people on a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney called Gobbler's Knob.
Records dating to 1887 show Phil has predicted longer winters more than 100 times. The 2020 forecast called for an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer but he's certainly not the only one. There are two other high-profile “imposters,” as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club calls them, in the region.
Staten Island Chuck will be asked for his prophesy Tuesday around 8 a.m. at the Staten Island Zoo in New York. That event will be streamed on Facebook since the zoo is closed.
Also without fanfare, Chuckles, Connecticut's official state groundhog, will make a prediction from home: the Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester. That will also be streamed on Facebook. Chuckles X died in September, and it remains to be seen whether an anointed Chuckles XI will emerge Tuesday.