Where to check for the Groundhog Day movie and predictions


Woodstock square and bandstand in the Groundhog Day movie. (J Jacobs photo)
Woodstock square and bandstand in the Groundhog Day movie. (J Jacobs photo)

Snow just blanketed the Northeast and a blizzard is predicted for midweek in the Midwest. But maybe, just maybe, spring is on the way.

Two famed groundhogs (furry woodchucks), Punxsutawney Phil in in Punxsutawney, PA and Woodstock Willie in Woodstock, IL, will be predicting six more weeks of winter if they see their shadow and go back to sleep on Feb. 2. Or, if it’s cloudy in their area their behavior may say spring is coming soon.

The date, Feb. 2, is known in the U.S. as Groundhog Day because, European agriculture folklore has it that the critters’ behavior can be a weather indicator for planting.

Viewed from the creative minds of writer/director Harold Ramis and writer Danny Rubin the idea that a rodent can predict the weather, is a concept fit for a romcom movie with a disagreeable, cynical weatherman as its protagonist.

But instead of filming only in Punxsutawney, PA, Ramis wanted an appropriate (cute and quaint) site near his North Shore home.

Thus Woodstock, with its scenic, old-fashioned square, is where most of the filming took place. Released in 1993, Woodstock, IL is now the town “Groundhog Day” movie fans visit for a few days of free tours of the film’s sites, free movie showings, and, if the weather cooperates, a visit on Feb. 2 when Woodstock Willie does his early morning prediction about spring.

Fans relive the movie by following in TV Weatherman Phil Conners’s (Bill Murray) footsteps including where Murray steps into a puddle and where he and TV producer Rita (Andie MacDowell), the love interest, have their snowball fight in the town square.

For Woodstock, IL Groundhog events visit Woodstock Groundhog. For the movie trailer see Groundhog Day Movie clips. For Punxsutawney Phil visit Groundhog Day Club.

Jodie Jacobs