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No Groundhog Day Shadow For Woodstock Willie

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Groundhog

(Credit: WBZ)

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WOODSTOCK, Ill. (CBS) — Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this Groundhog Day, but Woodstock Willie did not.

Thus, according to the northwest suburban resident groundhog’s prognostication, winter will be shorter this year. And don’t worry, it won’t be Thursday all over again when you wake up tomorrow.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports


As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the classic movie “Groundhog Day” was filmed in Woodstock 20 years ago. The McHenry County town stood in for Punxsutawney in the movie, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Every year since the movie was released in 1993, a year after the filming, residents of Woodstock have been commemorating its place in Groundhog Day lore with a ceremony similar to the one held in the real Punxsutawney.

The only year the ceremony and accompanying festival were canceled and moved to a different day was last year, when the infamous Blizzard of 2011 was clobbering the area.

Many Woodstock residents cherish the annual festival.

“It’s a lot of memories – I was an extra in the movie, so I stood here on what they called Gobbler’s Knob 20 years ago when they filmed the movie day after day after day,” said Rick Bellairs of Woodstock.

Brian Glass drove to Woodstock all the way from Minneapolis just for the Groundhog Day event.

“I’ve been a fan of the movie since it first came out 20 years ago, and I thought, if I ever have to relive one day of my life for the rest of my life, it’s going to be the day I retire,” Glass said. “So I just retired yesterday, and I’m here for Groundhog Day.”

Many sites from the fictional Punxsutawney have become local landmarks in Woodstock. The dance scene was filmed inside the Moose Lodge at Clay and Newell streets, while a house at the south end of Madison Street was shown as the exterior where Murray’s Phil Connors character stayed, Roadside America pointed out.

The Tip-Top Café has closed and reopened as the Tip-Top Bistro, and even the site where Murray runs into Stephen Tobolowsky’s Ned Ryerson character is memorialized with a plaque reading, “Ned’s Corner.”

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