Small Pennsylvania town ready for Groundhog Day

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:29 AM CST
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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (WJAC) - Groundhog Day is Thursday, and folks from around the country and the world are gearing up to make the pilgrimage to see Punxsutawney Phil. That means good business for the small town.

“We have 6,000 people that live here, and it swells to 20 or 30,000,” Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce President Katie Laska said. “You can just imagine the impact that it has on our economy here.”

And this year, the expectations are quite high.

“I feel everything’s sold out,” she said. “The tickets are all, they’re all sold out everywhere. The hotels are all booked around us, so I’m assuming that there’s going to be a lot more people this year than last year.”

All of this is in the hopes of showing off that small-town charm, with Laska saying, “I just want everyone to come and see what a great little town we have and maybe someone will move here, start a business here.”

For the Bizousky-Cronan family, who moved here in August, they told us Punxsutawney’s charm has been “a whole new world.”

“The kids go to school here now, and we didn’t move too far, only by 45 minutes,” said mother Kristen Bizousky. “But Punxsy is different than other towns.”

As for what makes it so different, she joked: “We kind of like a groundhog a lot.”

And why move to Punxsutawney? Well, it’s a story as old as time.

“An Inner Circle member, you know, [I] fell in love with somebody who wears a top hat on Groundhog Day,” Bizousky explained. “He kind of likes it, so I like it too.”

They say Punxsutawney has a lot of quirks but also a strong civic bond, Bizousky’s 11-year-old daughter Addie Cronan saying: “Here, everybody knows everybody in this town. So, somehow you’re all connected, and you’re all just friends without even knowing it.”

However, even if ol’ Phil sees his shadow on Thursday, the town will be filled with warmth.

“I just want warm weather,” said Laska. “But we still love him, no matter.”