PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (WTAJ) – It’s an annual tradition that has made Punxsutawney famous worldwide… Groundhog Day.
After being closed to the public, and 40,000+ being replaced with cardboard cutouts this past February as Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction, visitors will be welcomed back for his prediction in 2022.
Everyone is excited for a full house at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2, 2022, including Phil.
“We plan for bigger and better every year, we never sell ourselves short,” Phil’s handler and inner circle member of the Groundhog Club A.J. Dereume said.
Tickets went on sale earlier this week, and have been met with high demand. Inner circle VIP passes sold out in less than 48 hours. A link to buy tickets is available here.
“It happens quick. And everyone thinks about groundhog day in January, but we’re thinking about it now so, the excitements out there,” Dereume said.
This coming February, Groundhog Day will be on a Wednesday. In years past, the holiday falling on a weekday typically leads to fewer being in attendance. However, although Dereume doesn’t expect a crowd of 45,000 like you may find if the holiday were on a weekend, he said he wouldn’t be surprised by a larger than normal turnout for the prognosticator’s Wednesday morning prediction.
“I think that people are a bit stir crazy and looking to get back out,” Dereume said, talking about the empty feeling around Punxsutawny this past February, as the holiday is one of the driving forces of the town’s economy. “It was pretty desolate up there. So we’re very much looking forward to having the public back, that’s what makes it fun is the people.”
Phil Phanatics from across the world has been reaching out to plan their February second trip, getting ready for a warm welcome back to a chilly Gobbler’s Knob in February. But it’s not just the people counting down the days to a grand return to gobbler’s knob
“I know that Phil, I can’t speak directly to Phil, I don’t have those powers. But, I can sense that he is quite excited to have people back as well,” he said.
Another note that Dereume also added was that with no public attendance last year, the Groundhog Club, like many industries across the globe, expanded its reach online. In a normal year, the inner circle members will bring Phil to the Punxsutawney school district, and a few others around the area to speak with students and let them see Phil. Dereume said that with Zoom becoming so popular, they were also able to expand Phil’s reach and speak with schools across the country over Zoom.