History & Past Predictions

Learn more about the groundhog legend.

Groundhog Day, February 2nd

A Popular Tradition

A popular tradition in the United States, Groundhog Day is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

Over the course of the years, Phil has had numerous noteworthy highlights:

  • During Prohibition Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.
  • In 1958 Phil announced that it was a "United States Chucknik," rather than a Soviet Sputnik or Muttnik that became the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth.
  • In 1981 Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
  • Phil traveled to Washington DC in 1986 to meet with President Reagan. He was joined by Groundhog Club President Jim Means, Al Anthony and Bill Null.
  • Phil met Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburg in 1987.
  • In 1993, Columbia Pictures released the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.
  • Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1995.
  • In the years following the release of the movie, record crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney!
  • In 1996, Sega donated $10,000 to the Groundhog Club as Punxsutawney helped promote Sega's newest game at the time, "Sonic the Hedgehog 3".
  • 1996 was also the year The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club started a website!
  • In 1998 Groundhog Day was first broadcast live worldwide via the internet.
  • In 2001, Phil's prediction was shown live on the JumboTron at Times Square in New York City. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell attended the ceremonies, making him the first sitting governor ever to do so.
  • Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryserson, in the movie Groundhog Day, attended the 2010 Groundhog Day Celebration in Punxsutawney.
  • Danny Rubin, writer of the screenplay Groundhog Day, attended Groundhog Day 2013. This was the first time he attend Groundhog Day since before the movie was released. He addressed the crowd by starting out with, "My, how you have grown."
  • In March of 2015 Punxsutawney and members of the Inner Circle traveled to Indianapolis, IN to participate in the March Madness college basketball bracket picking challenge against Dick Vitale.
  • Punxsy Phil and his handlers administered the coin toss for Animal Planets XIII Annual Puppy Bowl. Phil traveled to NYC to partake in the filming.
  • In the Fall of 2016, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club worked with Discovery Studios and Animal planet to create a one hour documentary called:  A Groundhog Day Story: The Tale of a Marmot, His Shadow, and the People Who Protect Him. This special aired on Groundhog Day, February 2nd 2017 on the Animal Planet network!
  • In the Fall of 2017, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club initiated a capital campaign called Destination: Gobbler's Knob, that's primary focus being a visitor center at Gobbler's Knob.

  • 2018: At 7:25 a.m. with 18,000 Phil Phans present, Phil saw his shadow! Six More Weeks of Winter!
  • 2017:   Phil saw his shadow! Six more weeks of winter it is!
  • 2016:   No, Shadow, Spring is near!
  • 2015:   Phil saw his shadow! Six more weeks of winter it will be!
  • 2014:   Phil saw his shadow! Six more weeks of winter!
  • 2013:   No Shadow, Spring is near!
  • 2012:   Phil saw his shadow, Six More Weeks of Winter!
  • 2011:   No shadow, spring is near! The temperature was 17 degrees with a rain and snow mix!
  • 2010:   Phil saw his shadow and told his prediction to new Inner Circle President Bill Deeley.
  • 2009:   Phil saw his shadow and Inner Circle President Bill Cooper completed his final interpretation and retired at Gobblers Knob. It was 7:26 a.m.
  • 2008:   It was 29 degrees. In front of one of the largest crowds ever at Gobblers Knob
Click here to view Past Predictions from 1886-2017

From offering support of political events, to rooting for area sports teams, to becoming the star of a Hollywood movie, Punxsutawney Phil has increasingly been in the public eye.

Early observances of Phil's predictions were conducted privately in the wooded areas that neighbor the town. Today's celebration sees tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world as revelers await Phil's appearance as most fans wait to see their favorite rock stars.

The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper is credited with printing the news of the first observance in 1886 (one year before the first legendary trek to Gobbler's Knob):
Today is groundhog day, and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen his shadow."

Moments from Groundhog History

Past Predictions

Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knob has always been a photo-worthy event! Check out images and videos of past year's predictions! 

Read More

Groundhog Day 1976
Groundhog Day 1976
Groundhog Day 1984
Groundhog Day 1984
Groundhog Day 1996
Groundhog Day 1996
Groundhog Day 1997
Groundhog Day 1997
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