Pennsylvania’s world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow this morning in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Thousands of fans watched as Phil made his highly anticipated weather prognostication, commemorating 129 years of Pennsylvania’s unique Groundhog Day tradition.
According to holiday folklore, if the groundhog emerges in the early morning on Feb. 2 and does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring. If he sees his shadow, six more weeks of wintry weather are expected. The annual event that started with a small group of men known as the Inner Circle now attracts up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter means there’s still time to hit the slopes or enjoy a winter festival. Below, find a sampling of what Pennsylvania has in store for travelers during the remaining weeks of winter:
- Chocolate-Covered February, Feb. 1-28, Hershey (Dutch Country Roads)
It is only fitting that “The Sweetest Place On Earth®” hosts a month-long celebration in honor of all things chocolate. Hershey has the most decadent chocolate events planned throughout the month of February, so bring the family or sneak away with that special someone to a chocolate-covered paradise. www.chocolatecoveredfebruary.com
- Beauty and The Beast at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Feb. 6-15, Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh and its Countryside)
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will premiere a new full-length ballet of Beauty and the Beast, an imaginative interpretation of the time-honored tale. The widely acclaimed theatre is known for its classical ballet masterpieces and innovative explorations of contemporary dance. www.pbt.org/performances/beauty-and- beast
- Jim Thorpe Winterfest, Feb. 14-15, Jim Thorpe (Upstate PA)
The historic town of Jim Thorpe provides a beautiful backdrop to its Winterfest, a two-day winter extravaganza complete with the famous Jim Thorpe Mug Walk, wood and ice carvings, concerts, carriage rides and lots of kid-friendly fun.
- International Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, Feb. 21-28, Ridgway (Pennsylvania Wilds)
Each year, hundreds of chainsaw carvers from around the world gather in Ridgway to share their art and skill with the public and to raise money for charities at the world’s largest event of its kind. The International Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, held in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds, has delighted thousands with chainsaw competitions, safety classes, carving displays and much more since its start in 2000. www.chainsawrendezvous.org
- Pennsylvania Maple Festival, March 21-22 and March 25-29, Meyersdale (Laurel Highlands)
Visit the town of Meyersdale in the heart of the Laurel Highlands for the 68th annual Maple Festival, a week-long event celebrating the process of making delicious maple syrup. Visitors will learn how to tap a tree, boil sap into syrup, and make delicious sugar treats. Don’t leave before sampling maple syrup on a stack of hot pancakes. www.pamaplefestival.com
- Allora & Calzadilla: Intervals at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, December 12 through April 5, Philadelphia (Philadelphia and the Countryside)
Stay warm indoors and experience a unique collection of great masterpieces by Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Through films, sound, live performances and sculpture, the exhibit shows the artists’ take on ways to reconsider the distance between our present and past. www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/816.html
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, share photos at pinterest.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/ visitPA.
Pennsylvania Wilds: Home to millions of acres of unspoiled forests and mountains, as well as the largest free-roaming elk herd in the eastern United States, the Pennsylvania Wilds region is composed of 12 distinct and beautiful counties, each with its own heritage, character, charm and outdoor adventure. This region is where visitors can find breathtaking views, thousands of miles of waterways, more than 1,600 miles of trails, 29 state parks and plenty of wildlife. www.pawilds.com