Forget Punxsutawney Phil. According to Congress, Jimmy the Groundhog of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin is where the rodent weather forecasting is at.
On February 2nd, we celebrate “cross-quarter day”, normally the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. Now, in the media and movies – thanks to the film Groundhog Day – that annoying groundhog in Pennsylvania gets much of the glory. But really, Sun Prairie holds the official title of “Groundhog Capital of the World”, as noted in the Congressional Record.
Jimmy the Groundhog makes his annual prediction in Sun Prairie on February 2nd. Based on the cloudy, snow showery morning predicted for the town here in 2022, theoretically Jimmy will stay out of his hole for a while because he won’t see his shadow, indicating winter will soon be over. But as Wisconsinites, we all know we’ll have six more weeks of winter. Really – when hasn’t winter extended into the first part of March (or April) in Wisconsin? Come on…
It’s been an adventure at times. Usually around 7am on Groundhog Day, regardless of weather, local dignitaries and quite a crowd gather around to see Jimmy the Groundhog’s prognostication. In 2015, Jimmy bit the mayor’s ear while being held up for the crowd to see. Hopefully he’ll be in a better mood this year!
If you want to check out what’s happening in Sun Prairie whether groundhogs are involved or not, just follow U.S. 151 or Highway 19 (or County N north from I-94 at Exit #244) and you’ll find a vibrant downtown, craft breweries like Full Mile Brewing and Right Bauer Brewing, Cannery Square, the marker noting Sun Prairie as the birthplace of Georgia O’Keeffe, and a lot more.
Worth a road trip whether it’s Groundhog Day or not!