Groundhog Day was more eventful than usual in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, this morning as their resident rodent prognosticator, Jimmy the Groundhog, tried to take a bite out of Sun Prairie’s Mayor’s face while relaying his Groundhog Day forecast.
Sun Prairie, a small suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, held its 67th annual Groundhog Day Celebration this morning. Jimmy the Groundhog was escorted by his caretakers, Jerry and Maria Hahn, in a limousine escorted by the Sun Prairie firefighters to the center of town. During the festivities, Sun Prairie Mayor Jonathon Freund leaned close to the groundhog to “hear” Jimmy’s prediction, and it was then that the groundhog viciously went for the mayor’s ear.
Heroically holding it together, despite rubbing his ear and checking his fingers for blood, Mayor Freund announced that Jimmy the Groundhog had not seen his shadow, which, according to legend, means that Sun Prairie will be treated to an early spring.
However, the skies above Sun Prairie were clear this morning, and Jerry Hahn, one of Jimmy’s caretakers, told the mayor that he may have been confused about Jimmy the Groundhog’s prediction, and that Jimmy may have actually said there would be six more weeks of winter.
According to legend, if the groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow (AKA it’s sunny outside) it will be frightened and go back in its burrow for six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy, and it doesn’t see its shadow, it will stay outside for an early spring.
The confusion between the bitten mayor, the groundhog, and the groundhog’s handler wasn’t made any more clear by a statement released by the city of Sun Prairie.
“While tradition holds that only the mayor can translate Jimmy’s prediction and that a clear sky generally means Jimmy sees his shadow and that winter will go on for six more weeks, the mayor’s translation this morning was clearly for an early spring. The break with tradition is unusual, but not unprecedented.”
Continuing in the statement, Director of Economic Development Neil Stechschulte stated that Jimmy’s predictions are not just based on cloud cover.
“We count on Jimmy to actually predict the weather, not just have an automated response based on current weather conditions like other groundhogs across the country. After a back and forth conversation with Jimmy this morning, the mayor clearly confirmed Jimmy’s call for winter ending early.”
Either way — six more weeks of winter or not — everyone seemed to enjoy themselves at the Sun Prairie Groundhog’s Day festivities this morning (with the possible exception of the mayor).
[Image via YouTube]