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Woodstock prepared for Groundhog Day celebration

WOODSTOCK – Mayor Brian Sager smiled as he read a specific line of the official declaration of Feb. 2, 2013, as Groundhog Day.

“Whereas the city of Woodstock is dedicated to doing things over and over and over until they are done right ...” Sager said at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The movie that showcased the monotony of living the same day over and over will garner as big of a celebration as ever 20 years after it was released. Headlined by Woodstock Willie’s emergence from his winter slumber – at 7 a.m. Feb. 2 – festivities stretch eight days for the holiday that has become a claim to fame for Woodstock.

The events kick off with a Woodstock Lions Club-hosted pancake breakfast at the Woodstock Moose Lodge, 406 Clay St., from 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 27.

A few days later, on Jan. 31, Willie is available for pictures on the square at the Awakening of the Groundhog at 6 p.m. The free event is followed by Groundhog Day trivia inside Stage Left Café, 125 W. Van Buren St.

Tickets cost $15 for the Groundhog Day dinner and dance Feb. 1 at the Woodstock Moose. Proceeds for the event, which features live music and an Italian buffet, go to Moose Charities and the Pioneer Center of McHenry County.

Willie decides the fate of winter the next morning on the square. As the tradition states, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, spring is around the corner.

A Groundhog Day Breakfast follows the prognostication at the Woodstock VFW, 240 N. Throop St. Tickets cost $15.

Saturday’s events also include a Groundhog Day speaker, chili cook-off, guided tour of memorable film sites and symposium. For more information, visit www.WoodstockGroundhog.org.

Free showings of the movie, which had the 20-year anniversary of its filming marked last year – are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Woodstock Theatre, 209 N. Main St.

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