“You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.” -- Bill Murray as Phil Connors in “Groundhog Day.”
In honor of Groundhog Day tomorrow, I thought we’d take a trip to the charming McHenry County town of Woodstock in the far northwestern suburbs.
Now many of you are likely nodding your heads and thinking, "Sure. Groundhog Day. Woodstock. Makes sense.” But others might be a bit confused.
The 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day” – starring Bill Murray as an egocentric weatherman – was set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where each year on Feb. 2 a groundhog named Phil emerges from his burrow. His “handlers” then announce whether he’s seen his shadow; no shadow, according to legend, means an early spring is on its way.
While that tradition truly dates back more than 120 years in Punxsutawney, much of the movie “Groundhog Day” was filmed in Woodstock, especially on its beautiful town square.
As a result of the movie’s popularity, Woodstock now has its own “Groundhog Days” festival each winter – complete with a chili cook-off, free screenings of the movie, a walking tour of filming sites and on Feb. 2, the emergence of “Woodstock Willie” from a tree trunk on the Woodstock Square. Fans of the movie will appreciate that a polka band plays in the bandstand during the ceremony to help “wake” Willie from his winter nap.