PUNXSUTAWNEY – Gobbler’s Knob was the site of celebration on Saturday for the Phil Phest picnic honoring Punxsutawney Phil.
Phil Phest is an annual celebration centered around the Elixir of Life Ceremony for Punxsutawney Phil. Lunch and dinner are also served at the park for those who bought tickets. There is also a corn hole tournament held during the afternoon.
The Elixir of Life Ceremony is free of charge for the public to witness. The legend behind the elixir says that for every sip Phil takes, he gets seven more years of life. Some of the inner circle explained during the ceremony the elixir is specially made for groundhogs and won’t work on humans.
Members of the Inner Circle said this year’s ceremony had one of the largest crowds so far. Everyone gathered around the stage to witness Phil drinking the magical elixir, cheering when he took his first sip. Afterward, there was an opportunity to take photos with Phil.
One couple in the crowd, Judy and Mark Jaworski, came the whole way from Philadelphia to attend the ceremony. Judy Jaworski had come to Groundhog Day back on the famous 02/02/02 celebration.
“I’ve always wanted to come up to this event… I’s been a great time,” Judy Jaworski said about Phil Phest.
She has been a big fan of Groundhog Day for many years. When she came to the celebration in 2002, it was a last-minute decision between her and a friend.
“I’ve been dying to do this for years… some people have Christmas, I have Groundhog Day,” Judy Jaworski said.
After the ceremony, Inner Circle member John Griffiths talked about the history of the elixir. He said it was first used in 1887, the same year as the first picnic. When Phil came to the club, they knew he was special, and had to do something to keep him around.
“He could die someday if we stopped giving him the elixir, but he’s got about 2,000 racked up from taking sips each year,” Griffiths said.
Phil Phest is a day of celebration for Punxsutawney Phil, and a chance for the community to celebrate their famous little ground hog’s life.