Woodstock, IL Groundhog Day: Willie sees shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter

Woodstock Willie gave his prediction Thursday morning

Diane Pathieu Image
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Woodstock Willie sees shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter
The Woodstock groundhog made his prediction Thursday morning. There wil be 6 more weeks of winter.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WLS) -- Another holiday is upon us -- Groundhog Day.

It's celebrated in the finest fashion in Woodstock.

Groundhog Gus took over the ABC7 Chicago weather forecast Thursday morning.

The movie "Groundhog Day" hit the big screen 30 years ago. That iconic film was filmed in Woodstock, featuring Bill Murray.

And the city plans to celebrate all things groundhog Thursday, including visits from people who were part of making the movie and walking tours to see sites from the film. You can actually watch the film, too.

The celebration began Wednesday night, with the welcoming of the groundhog.

RELATED: 'Groundhog Days' festival returns to Woodstock to celebrate making of classic film

With almost two dozen events planned, the festival will continue through Sunday.

The prognostication ceremony with Woodstock Willie was the main event Thursday morning.

And he saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter.

The crowd went wild for the annual tradition, which brings people from near and far.

"Yesterday we were talking about what we can do special for the kids for Groundhog Day, and we decided to get up very early this morning and come here and videotape it so we can show the kids today at school," said Christine Morris, a Ringwood school teacher.

A long line of people braved the cold temperatures to even line up for a photo with Willie.

Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania also saw his shadow just before 6:30 a.m.

Melissa McMahon, with the Woodstock Groundhog Day Committee, joined ABC7 Chicago live Thursday to talk more about the festivities.

The Woodstock groundhog is expected to make his prediction Thursday morning. Will there be 6 more weeks of winter?

Woodstock Mayor Mike Turner also thanked the volunteers who help make Groundhog Day so special.

"Woodstock is always a great place to bring your family, so there, for Groundhog Day, there is lots of family events and more here during the year, as well," Turner said.

The Woodstock mayor thanked volunteers for making Groundhog Day so special Thursday.

Woodstock Groundhog Day Chairman Rick Bellairs talked about how "Groundhog Day" fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the movie this week.

Here's how to get a behind-the-scenes look at "Groundhog Day."

"It's an institution around here, 'Groundhog Day,' and they make a big deal of it, and the movie's great. I've seen it many times, and with it being the 30th anniversary I thought it was a great time to come out and celebrate with the Woodstock community," Lake in the Hills resident Cheryl Meyer said.

Bob Hudgins, locations manager for the "Groundhog Day" movie, said he never expected the film would have such popularity.

"People loved to, they come to town, and the big question is 'where is the puddle?' You can take a tour of the bed and breakfast, the Cherry Street Inn, and you can see some of the sites around, where they drink to world peace and the familiar places around town and people just get a kick out of it it's a lot of fun," Hudgins said.

The "Groundhog Day" locations manager never expected the film to have such popularity.