It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Around the country there are many imitators of me
In Harrisburg, there is Gus, who appears on TV
Working for the lottery.
Then all around town, cute groundhog statues abound
They all look like me, I found.
Today on the Knob, as I am doing my job
I don’t like this likeness of me
It is my shadow I see
Six more weeks of mild winter weather there will be.
The sky was mostly cloudy with a few breaks of blue sky in between and the temperature was around 32 degrees. The snow and ice are gone and cloudy day forecast for the area but in the next few days snow and cold is in the forecast. A large crowd for a weekday, around 15,000 people were on hand for the event which included a show and a display of fireworks. There were craft shows, art shows, ice carving, dinners, and parties.
Groundhog Day fell on Thursday this year, so a smaller crowd than we get on a weekend, but still, there was a large crowd on hand at Gobbler's Knob for the annual trek. People from all over the world attended the morning activities. It was nice to see so many new faces in town.
Folks who left Punxsutawney a few years ago and have not been back for 5 years or so, would be impressed by some of the changes that have taken place recently. Some new businesses, like Walmart and Advance Autoparts have moved in and several old historic buildings are gone. The entire character of the downtown section is different than it was just 10 or 20 years ago. The high school looks different now, as there was remodeling done up there. It is the same building, but it looks different. It seems that for every one new building that is constructed, we lose two old businesses and buildings in the process! The changes in the look of the town are dramatic, but the small town character of Punxsutawney doesn't seem to have changed much. The streets are still safe at night and the people still smile and say "hello" to each other as they pass on the street. The school's enrollment is still in decline and the average age of the population gets older with every young person who grows up and leaves to find a new career. The surrounding area is still full of pleasant rural scenery and quiet woods. Deer, turkey, and bears still live in abundance, and the air is still clean and the water still sparkles.
Eckerd Drug opened a new store January 26, 2005 on the corner of Gilpin and Mahoning Streets, a site once occupied by the long standing Mahoning Hardware Store. The old hardware store building was torn down along with Deeley's Funeral Home, an old automobile dealership and the old Chamber of Commerce building. Then an all new store and large parking lot were constructed. The alley that existed between Deeley's Funeral Home and the Mahoning Hardware store was relocated so that it now intersects Gilpin street straight across from Union Street. The Gilpin and Mahoning intersection now boasts three Pharmacies: Eckerd, the Medicine Shoppe and Stewart's Pharmacy. A new building has been constructed on Mahoning Street on the site of the old Ruth and Harry's building. This fills in a gap on that side of the street. Deeley Funeral Home built a big new building up by the entrance to the hospital.
The Lutheran Church on the corner of Gilpin and Pine
Streets was destroyed by fire a couple of years ago. A new building has been
constructed and is now in use at the same location. The new building was
designed to look a lot like the old red brick building. They used the old
entrance way and stained glass window from the old building. The there was a
home just east of the church on Pine St. (towards Findley St.) that was torn
down to make more room for the new building. Also, the old church rectory /
office was torn down to make room in that direction also. They have a new pipe
organ, and a great new social hall.
The Sheetz store in Elk Run was rebuilt. They tore down the old store to make way for a new expanded and modernized store. They also tore down a house or two behind the old location in order to expand.
Ty Industries created a Punxsutawney Phil (groundhog) Beanie Baby for the forth year in a row. The first TY Groundhog toy was sold on Wednesday June 8th at the Chamber of Commerce and was sold out in about an hour. The first ones that came out were a special edition for the Inner Circle. Only 5000 were produced. They sold them for $5 each and had a limit of 48 Beanie Babies per person. Later, people sold them on E-bay for $120 to 150 or so! There was a new edition for 2004 and 2005, and now for 2006. Each looks a bit different from the previous. You can still order a Punxsutawney Phil Beanie Baby on the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce Web site.
by the Punxsutawney Historical and Genealogical Society