Go Magazine

February 2018

Go Magazine

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The beginnings of exactly how the United States and Canada came to trust a rodent seeing its shadow as an accurate weather prediction is as uncertain as the forecast provided by the annually celebrated event. Most everyone knows how it goes — if the groundhog sees its shadow, that means there will be six more weeks of winter. If it doesn't, then an early spring is on its way. Sounds legit. It is celebrated on Feb. 2 each year, and is thought to have its roots in Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions. The first observance of the holiday purportedly happened in German communities in Pennsylva- nia. The earliest known reference to the weather- fest is a Feb. 2, 1840, diary entry by James L. Morris of Morgan- town, Pennsylvania. While that settlement was a Welsh enclave, Morris is said to have been writing about something his German neighbors were doing. It was arguably first reported by a newspaper named the Punx- sutawney Spirit in 1886, where a passage read — "up to the time of going to press, the beast has not seen its shadow." It was not until the next year, in 1887, that the first "official" Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, when a group made their way to the Gobbler's Knob part of town to consult the groundhog for its weather expertise. People have gathered annually at the spot since, and it is now a tradition recognized across the United States and Canada. The editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit at the time, Clymer Freas, is credited as the father of the very idea of Groundhog Day. Some have suggested all the hullabaloo in Punxsutawney around this time is where all Groundhog Day events originated, spreading across North America from there. While it's beginnings are uncertain and what traditions surround- ing the day come from where are fuzzy, one thing is certain — peo- ple will anxiously await the news the groundhog will have to deliver this year. Twitching her nose and darting her eyes about, she's on the hunt for something. Could it be food? Water? Her long lost brother? No. Greta will emerge to search for her shadow, and that will indicate whether or not there will be a long winter. Onlookers will huddle around the groundhog's den at 10:30 a.m. and wait to see what Greta will see. If she sees her shadow — sorry, summer fans — the pre- diction is there will be six more weeks of win- ter. If she does not see her shadow — warm weather lovers, rejoice — then there will be an early spring. The action will happen at Grady's Animal Discover Den, named after Greta's predecessor. Members of the park's nature center will come out to greet guests and educate them about the animals. Though the park is closed on Thursdays in February, it will open just for this special event. The event is free to attend. Chimney Rock State Park is just 25 miles from Asheville, nestled in Rutherford County. Be sure to stick around after the main affair to take in all of the beauty this more than 500- million-year-old area has to offer. The state park has hiking trails, rare plants, native wildlife and one of the state's largest waterfalls. Greta the groundhog waits all year to wow visitors with her weather-predicting capabilities, beast's natural habitat. Bringin' in spring 919.658.5896 999 Henderson Street, Mount Olive Monday-Friday 8 to 5 • Saturday 8 to 1 Brakes • Minor Repairs Full Oil Change • Tire Sales & Service Fuel Injection Cleaner Transmission & Radiator Service COLLEGE FAST LUBE Samantha Key - Manager David Guess - Owner COLLEGE FAST LUBE 3DAG0117D© A HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Gobbler's Knob is thought to be the birthplace of Groundhog Day, with the first recorded historical account of the event happening printed in a local newspaper in 1886. story continued from page 13 Story by Ethan Smith

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