The Groups That Give Us Groundhog Day

The offbeat holiday has inspired equally offbeat events—and not just in Pennsylvania, either. Here are just some of the groups with a vested interest in the groundhog’s shadow.

Whether you’re into rodents predicting the weather with their shadows or you’re really into pre-Wes Anderson Bill Murray movies, there’s a lot to love about Groundhog Day.

And, just like everything else, it comes to life via the work of organizations that put on events around the holiday:

Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The club that started it all has deep cultural ties to the Pennsylvania Dutch community and religious tradition that birthed the phenomenon. Active since 1887, the organization has grown in technical skill and reach as it’s gained prominence, with its website representing a de facto CVB for the Punxsutawney community. And the site is complete with a livestream that should be pretty packed on Saturday morning. The name is something of a misnomer: The group actually maintains three clubs for those interested in the phenomenon—the Groundhog Club for adults, the Jr. Groundhog Club for kids, and Phil’s Birthday Club for those who share a birthday with the holiday.

Buffalo Groundhog Day Society. While Buffalo is better known for its interest in hockey than groundhogs, its local spin on the event has a fascinating origin story. Basically, a group of friends sitting at a bar decided on a whim to drive to Punxsutawney to see its event, but they found themselves unimpressed with the showing—and decided they could do it better. That decision was the impetus for The Buffalo Groundhog Day Society, a five-year-old nonprofit that has raised more than $10,000 for animal charities while putting on an event the City of Good Neighbors can be proud of. (Their event already took place last week—and predicted six more weeks of winter.)

Atlanta Jugglers Association. The Super Bowl may be somewhat overshadowing Groundhog Day in Atlanta this year, but last weekend there was another big event held there honoring it. For more than 40 years, the Atlanta Jugglers Association, which uses juggling to educate and inspire others, has put on an annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival, which found its event bumped this year because of the football festivities. (In honor of the event’s timing, prizes are given out in the form of juggling groundhog statues, because of course they are.) But even if you missed it, there are plenty of opportunities to see what the jugglers are all about—the group’s members frequent libraries in the area.

(teddyandmia/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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