Celebrate Groundhog Day in Woodstock, Illinois. Celebrate Groundhog Day in Woodstock, Illinois. Celebrate Groundhog Day in Woodstock, Illinois.
The day approaches when otherwise reasonable, educated human beings put aside all common sense and look not to the Weather Channel and Jim Cantore for the winter forecast, but instead to a big fat rodent named Phil who lives underground in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Groundhog Day is upon us and other than Punxsutawney, there's no better place than Woodstock, Illinois to celebrate. Located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Woodstock was the shooting location for the 1993 cult classic Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.
Of course, Groundhog Day is celebrated all year in Woodstock, but the party really kicks up a notch during the weeklong Groundhog Day Festival. You've got your basic pancake breakfast at the Moose Lodge, a chili cook-off and a dinner dance. There's also a storytelling contest, a Groundhog Day movie symposium and a free showing of the film.
And then on Feb. 2, it's not Punxsutawney Phil who takes the stage but a lovable community mascot known as Woodstock Willie (pictured at top). You can get your pictures made with him and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate during the Groundhog Day trivia contest.
If you can't make it to Woodstock this week, put it on your agenda for later in the year, when it may be a bit warmer. Take a guided walking tour of 14 sites where memorable scenes in the movie were shot.
Look for the many plaques around town identifying scenes from the movie, like one on the curb with a footprint, that says "Bill Murray Stepped Here." Spend the night at the magnificent Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, portrayed in the movie as the Cherry Street Inn, the boarding house where Murray woke up over and over and over and over again.