Groundhog Day 2017: Winter Is (Still) Coming, Punxsutawney Phil Says | WBEZ
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Groundhog Day 2017: Winter Is (Still) Coming, Punxsutawney Phil Says

A large crowd turned out to see Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day Thursday, waiting to learn if the animal saw his own shadow on Gobbler's Knob. Phil was in an unusually feisty mood — but once he settled down, he saw his own shadow, officials deemed.

As aficionados of the annual ritual will know, that means we're in for six more weeks of cold weather — and as the prediction was read out in in Punxsutawney Pa., a sign was held aloft reading, "We love Old Man Winter."

It was the 131st time Phil shared his meteorological ideas with a grateful nation, and this time around, the information was hard-won: his eponymous day seemed to sneak up on Phil, and despite more than an hour of loud music and the adoring shouts of human admirers that preceded the sunrise event, his handlers had to grapple with the groundhog so he could have his moment in the sun (or shade).

The event in Punxsutawney is a party, with officials wearing top hats on stage and many in the audience wearing groundhog hats made of brown fleece. For the record, it was around 30 degrees at the event this morning.

First, the groundhog was awakened to do that, the crowd did what it always does, chanting "Phil! Phil! Phil! Phil!"

Then the door on his tree-trunk lair was unlocked. And then, on the count of three, his handlers (wearing protective gloves that they would sorely need) brought Phil out.

"He's squealin', he's hollerin'!" the emcee said, adding "Phil is feisty!"

The animal, known in his hometown as "the seer of seers," was then displayed to the crowd before being placed on a stump to determine whether he might see his own shadow. An official decree was then read declaring our cold future.

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