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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day Barbecue


For over 125 years people have been gathering in Punxsutawney, PA to celebrate the amazing weather forecasting talents of one Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby. The day is filled with a festive surrounding of good food, fun, friends, and family. The most amazing thing about Punxsutawney Phil's ability is not that he only exercises his weather prognostication talents for a few brief seconds  on the second day of February each year. The truly amazing thing about Punxsutawney Phil is that he is a groundhog with weather forecasting talents.

Early in the morning on the second day of February each year, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole. If he sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he is predicting six more weeks of winter weather. If Phil doesn't see his shadow, he has predicted an early spring. That's pretty much all Punxsutawney Phil does. Not a bad way to make a living.

As good as ol' Punxsutawney Phil has it nowadays, things weren't always so easy for groundhogs on Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA. There was a time when the highlight of the day was the barbecued groundhog! Here is an excerpt from a newspaper article that appeared in Fair Play on February 14, 1920.

A community celebration of a somewhat different character but equally effective in its advertising power, is the Ground-Hog day picnic at Punxsutawney, PA. At this novel annual event farmers, politicians and former residents to the number of many thousands gather to share in eating a splendid repast, the principal feature of which is groundhog meat. The meat is cooked in barbecue fashion and invariably wins the praise of the celebrants. Speeches and informal hearty greetings of old friends occupy the afternoon. While this event is not designed to advertise a farm product, its distinctive character and the fine spirit of hospitality that obtains puts Punxsutawney and the surrounding country on the map.
The folks in Punxsutawney, PA don't serve barbecued groundhog on Ground Hog Day anymore. I'm sure no one is happier about that than Punxsutawney Phil. People used to really enjoy their Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary barbecue sandwiches. Not so much nowadays.

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