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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Woodstock 'Groundhog Days' Festival Begins Today

Woodstock Groundhog Days Committee

In the midst of a pandemic, where we’re stuck inside living the same day over and over again, residents of Woodstock, Illinois have a familiar feeling. Its town square served as the filming location for the Bill Murray classic “Groundhog Day.”

This weekend, residents will gather in that exact spot to celebrate Woodstock’s Groundhog Days Festival. Sadly, not all of the events will return in 2021 due to the pandemic. The annual showing of the movie was cancelled. But the Welcoming of the Groundhog, Groundhog Day movie trivia and a bag toss tournament are still set to go. There’s also a museum full of memorabilia from the film. Festival Organizer Rick Bellairs said there are several items to check out, including something personal.

“I was an extra in the movie 'Groundhog Day' and I drove my car in a few of the scenes. If you were in the movie driving your car they couldn’t have Illinois license plates so they had magnetic license plates that would go on over your Illinois license plate that said 'Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.'”

He also said the pandemic adds a new dimension to the movie's central concept. 


"Through the course of this past year, I have heard many newscasts refer to a 'Groundhog Day' feeling, where people are repeating the same day over and over agian. That wasn't a Groundhog Day thing before Harold Ramis made the movie. The day repeating itself over and over has just become part of our lexicon because of the movie."  

The main event is Tuesday morning at the Woodstock Square. Woodstock’s own groundhog Woodstock Willy will make his prognostication on whether we will see an early spring or a longer winter. Residents hope he won’t see his shadow.