In honour of North America’s annual day of equinocal prognostication, we present our gateway to the official Web sites of the continent’s two best-known forecasters.

On closer examination, you’ll find there’s much more to Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA, or Wiarton, ON, Canada than checking to see if the little fellows see their shadows. February 2 may not be a statutory holiday in either country but, in these towns, where marmota marmota is king, the day is the culmination of week-long celebrations and year-long preparations.

In Punxsutawney, the town literally ‘goes groundhog’ for four solid days starting on January 30 and building in a crescendo to the traditional prediction ceremony which is televised across the continent.

If you go… Be sure to visit the unique Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, ‘a place where science and folklore of weather prediction meet in a beautiful building’. And be sure to reserve your ticket early for next year’s Annual Groundhog Banquet, ‘sponsored by the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club, held at the Punxsutawney Area High School Cafeteria’.

For details on the Punxsutawney celebration, visit: Be sure to peruse the ‘About Groundhog Day’ page where you’ll find a fascinating history of the art of predicting when spring will come — a tradition the site says dates back hundreds of years in Europe (and, according to the Weather Network, back to ancient Roman times). One way or another, the occasion didn’t officially involve groundhogs at all until 1886 when the first recorded ceremony took place at Punxsutawney’s legendary Gobbler’s Knob.

In Wiarton, ON, the festivities began on Thursday, January 29, this year, with a youth dance and rose through the weekend, through dozens of events, to a climax with the Prediction Ceremony at 7:30 this morning.


(Photo: Wiarton Willie Festival)

Willie and his friends have their own year-round Web presence at:

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