January 29, 2024 at 3:20 p.m.

Celebration or Lamentation? 11th Annual Groundhog Day Event to Offer Prediction Friday

By JENN WILLHITE | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

As our favorite marmot continues to indulge in some rest and self-care ahead of her big prediction reveal, the town of Hope is making its final preparations for the 11th Annual Groundhog Day Celebration scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Friday on the Hope Town Square in downtown Hope.

Presented by Main Street of Hope in collaboration with UTOPIA Wildlife Rehabilitators, the much-anticipated event will feature a pairing of theatre and history set to Polka music with a touch of Americana “at its finest,” according to Susan Thayer Fye in a recent press release for the event. 

And, of course, Hope the Groundhog.

It may not be the "Pennsylvania Polka" – as featured in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day" – but there will certainly be a Polka soundtrack accentuated with much pomp, circumstance and period dress, says Connie Kiviniemi-Baylor, executive director of Main Street of Hope.  

“I do plan on dressing up,” Baylor says.  “I don’t want to be underdressed for the event.”

And what’s even possibly more exciting than Friday’s event is that it has made the destination list of Groundhog Day enthusiasts from as far away as the east coast, Baylor says.

“I’m excited that we have people who call us from all over America to hear about it,” Baylor says. “I spoke with someone from Hackensack, New Jersey, and they are planning on attending next year. I think it is fun that people travel to events like this, and that Hope is on their radar.”

As for this year’s event, well, all hopes are for a big crowd, Baylor says.

“We hope to have a large gathering who is excited about Groundhog Day and seeing Hope,” Baylor says. “I am ready for spring, for sure.”

Like Baylor, fellow Main Street of Hope member, Jenni Richards, is hopeful Hope doesn’t see her proverbial shadow.

“I am totally always ready for spring,” Richards says.

Hope the Groundhog will make her much-anticipated reveal at 8:30 a.m. And there will be a gathering at WILLow LeaVes of Hope, located at 326 Jackson St. downtown, to either celebrate or lament Hope’s prediction following the event’s conclusion at 8:50 a.m., says Jessica Deckard, long-time Groundhog Day attendee.

“I want an early spring, but I always want an early spring,” Deckard says.

There will be plenty of coffee and hot chocolate – made possible by Fields Heating and Cooling – available at the Main Street of Hope booth to keep spectators and Groundhog Day participants warm, Richards adds.

Members of Main Street of Hope will also gather at WILLow LeaVes of Hope for a brief meet-and-greet following the morning’s festivities, Richards says.

“I want the groundhog to tell us it is going to be a short winter,” says Vickie Tedder, co-owner of WILLow LeaVes of Hope. “That morning, we will have breakfast with our typical menu, including biscuits and gravy, eggs and quiche.”

Attendees are encouraged to livestream and take pictures during the event.

For more information, please visit Main Street of Hope online HERE.