Groundhog Day trivia: 5 bizarre things you didn't know about this quirky tradition in Pennsylvania

If you tune into Groundhog Day 2023 at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Feb. 2, you'll see a groundhog, men in top hats and — maybe — a shadow.

But there's a whole bunch of strange traditions that go on behind the scenes of the event, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Here are 5 of the most unusual:

Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 136th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Punxsutawney Phil has an "inner circle"

Those men in top hats aren't random. They're called the "inner circle." They're responsible for planning the events around Groundhog Day (no small feat, considering this year's events span over a week), and caring for Phil.

They say Punxsutawney Phil's predictions are 100% accurate

Let's be clear, taken at face value, they're not. The predictions are actually wrong more than they're right. But the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club notes that the predictions aren't geographically specific. So if Phil "predicts" a long winter, that's probably true — somewhere in the world.

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Punxsutawney Phil is basically immortal, so they say

It's been the same Punxsutawney Phil for all 136 years of the tradition, according to the club. That's over 15 times longer than the upper end of a groundhog's typical lifespan. That's an old groundhog.

A special diet keeps Punxsutawney Phil

They claim they make him immortal by feeding him the 'groundhog punch' every year

The crowd watches the festivities while waiting for Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, to come out and make his prediction during the 136th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022.

They say Phil can communicate

They call it "Groundhogese" and say Phil communicates his predictions to the current president of the inner circle.

Want to learn more about Pennsylvania's famous tradition? The best place is right from the source:, the online home of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Groundhog Day trivia: Facts about PA tradition with Punxsutawney Phil