Punxsutawney Phil

Coronavirus Prevents Crowds From Seeing Punxsutawney Phil

Nov 19, 2020
Barry Reeger / Associated Press

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic means Groundhog Day won't be the same in a Pennsylvania town long associated with a prognosticating rodent.

Organizers said Punxsutawney Phil will predict whether spring will come early or winter will last longer in 2021 without the usual crowds who gather at Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside the town about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.

John Griffiths and A.J. Dereume, co-handlers of Punxsutawney Phil, stand with the famous groundhog
Anne Danahy / WPSU

John Griffiths is chopping up vegetables for Phil’s lunch. The groundhog dines in style. 

“I’m cutting up sweet potatoes,” he explains.

Every year thousands of people travel to Punxsutawney to witness Punxsutawney Phil’s weather forecast. If he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter. If not, we get an early spring. 

Griffiths is a handler in what’s known as Punxsutawney Phil’s Inner Circle. His duties include everything from preparing lunch for the famous groundhog to handling him on Groundhog Day.