PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — There will be six more weeks of winter, Punxsutawney Phil predicted as he emerged from his burrow on Wednesday to perform his Groundhog Day duties.
Thousands of people gathered at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he had seen his shadow. After Phil’s prediction was announced, the crowd repeatedly chanted “six more weeks!”
According to folklore, spring would come early if he didn’t see it.
The event took place virtually last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, depriving the community, which is about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, of a boost from tourists.
It was streamed live and seen by more than 15,000 viewers worldwide at one point. About 150 cardboard cutouts of fans were there to “watch.”
The annual event has its origin in a German legend about a furry rodent.
According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organizers said.
The 2020 forecast called for an early spring.