JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Jefferson County is coming to terms with a financial blow: news that Groundhog Day will be virtual this year. Local government officials say this will block tens of thousands of dollars from Punxsutawney, but they stand by their decision to put the community’s health first.
When Punxsutawney Borough Manager, Toby Santik, thinks back to past Groundhog Days, he remembers the crowds it brought it in and the booming business.
“We had a sea of people up there… 25,000 people,” Santik said.
It’s an event the Groundhog Club prepares for all year.
“You’d be somewhat shocked to see where people come from for Groundhog day, I mean it’s everywhere from Iceland to California,” says Robert Cardamone, executive director of the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce.
They say it will make a mark on businesses centered around the holiday, but they hope people will understand why it’s best for the event to be virtual this year.
“As far as people being here, I hope that people adhere to what the Groundhog Club is saying,” Santik said,
Above all, they remain optimistic.
“Punxsutawney will still move forward,” Santik said.
And they encourage the community to do the same.
“None of us need to think pessimistic, we have to stay optimistic, or else then we’re really doomed,” says Cardamone.