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Posted on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 1 p.m.

Get out and about on Groundhog Day

By Tammy Mayrend


Wikipedia image for Nature's predictor of spring - the groundhog! Michigan’s own "Woody the Woodchuck" has been prognosticating the coming of spring since 1999 and has been right 8 of the last 11 years.

When my mom and step-father moved to Novi we added a new member to the family - Charlie the groundhog! There were great amounts of entertainment value in watching an overly plump groundhog run from my five-pound poodle.

Hilarity and gales of laughter could be heard when he ran (and I use that term loosely), wiggling, squeezing and wedging his way into his burrow under our small backyard shed. Imagine almost any cartoon character going through and getting stuck in a small space and you’ll get a great mental image of the events! Groundhogs can be fun animals to watch, which brings me to my topic.

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, the eagerly anticipated celebration of the coming of spring. The legend is based on an old Scottish couplet, "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year." So if the groundhog sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is just around the corner! Locally there are a couple of fun events celebrating the day.

Take the entire family out to the Howell Conference & Nature Center to view Michigan’s own "Woody the Woodchuck's" annual spring weather prediction. New this year, guests are encouraged to dress according to their wishes, for an opportunity to win a $100 cash prize! If you wish for a longer winter, wear your most wintry clothing; if you wish for an early spring, then dress like you are attending a Jimmy Buffet concert!

Michigan’s Groundhog Day celebration is a must-see for locals, so stop by for a free continental breakfast and an 8:15 a.m. sharp weather prediction. For more information contact Laura Western at 517-546-4185 or visit the Howell Conference & Nature Center website.

If after the excitement has died down, and you would still like to celebrate with a little outdoor activity, join the “Groundhog Day Hike” at the Michigan Friends Center in Chelsea from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. This free hike will be followed by a winter warmer of hot tea! For more information, call 734-302-5263.

For those of you that can’t even manage to burrow out of your own wintry homes, Punxsutawney Phil wants to text you the results of HIS weather predictions. He'll be broadcasting his weather prediction on Tuesday to fans who sign up by texting the word "Groundhog" to 247365, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @GroundhogPhil.

Tammy Mayrend is a search marketing professional who blogs on local activities for families at