Groundhog Day: The Forgotten Excuse to Party

January 30, 2013

Most people call it February 2nd, but for the town of Punxsutawney, PA, it’s a town-wide celebration called Groundhog Day, a holiday with German origin and just another reason to throw a festive Saturday night party. While you might be familiar with the holiday from the movie of the same name, it actually has nothing to do with a constant state of déjà vu or multiple ways to kill oneself. The celebrity groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerges from the ground and forecasts the rest of the season: if he sees his shadow, we should expect six more weeks of winter. If he does not, spring will befall us earlier than expected.

Punxsutawney Phil greets an enthusiastic and otherwise uninteresting crowd.

Punxsutawney Phil greets an enthusiastic and otherwise uninteresting crowd.

But so what if Phil’s predictions are controversial! The purported 37-39% accuracy won’t stop us from recreating the festivities Punxsutawney enjoys annually or maybe even setting the new standard (or low, if you’re a pessimist) on weird holiday parties. But you might be asking yourself, “why the heck would I celebrate Groundhog Day?” Simple: why not? You might also be asking, “how do I even celebrate Groundhog Day??” Read on!

Dress for a Hog, Act Like a Hog: Theme and Games

How do you commemorate the emergence of a large rodent? With top hats, of course! Formal wear is the preferred attire in the presence of Phil, and while your

Groundhog Day Top Hat

Groundhog Day Top Hat

party may not be as fancy, top hats easily establish the mood as something more than your typical weekend party. Whether you shop for cheap top hats at party retailers like Party City or Oriental Trading, the dress code is entirely open: encourage the fanciest threads or winter or spring apparel. Might you like to initiate some competition and unnecessary taunting, guests can be encouraged to dress for the season (winter or spring) they believe Punxsutawney Phil will predict. Consider fostering that friction with Groundhog Day-themed games. Phil hides in the ground, so you might hide a small groundhog or rodent-like toy somewhere in your home for guests to find. Or place a folded piece of paper with a groundhog on it in a filled balloon among many balloons; a prize awaits the person who finds it. If nothing else, a piñata is a reliable, affordable option: hey, everybody loves smashing things.

Eat Like a Hog: Food

On past Groundhog Days, one would expect– indeed, anticipate– a roasted animal of sorts to be on the menu.  Now, you and small animals can sigh in inexpensive hunger killers like hot dogs, cupcakes, and various nibblers. Punxsutawney Phil might inspire a groundhog-themed fest foods or foods with things coming out of holes (flush that dirty mind out!). For example, bacon, cheese, and relish-laced Whistle Dogs honor Wiarton Willie, the Canadian groundhog who would partake in the holiday festivities, and brown-sugar-and-bacon-packed Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Beans hail from Phil’s native state.

Not a whistle dog, but pretty dang close.

Not quite a whistle dog: just imagine it with more bacon and cheese.

Food with holes for your food holes includes tasty unhealthy treats like Chocolate Mocha Liqueur Cake, a German Chocolate bundt cake with almost a full cup of coffee-flavored liqueur. Aptly place a groundhog or squirrel-like figurine in the center, and your Groundhog Day-themed dessert is complete. If you’re looking to go all out, try a cuddle-worthy batch of Groundhog Day Cupcakes: an almond joy, some white jelly beans and M&Ms, a bit of a jelly watermelon slice, a little decorator’s gel for glue, and you and your guests get to gobble non-roasted small animals for dessert!

Chocolate Mocha Liqueur Cake

Chocolate Mocha Liqueur Cake with an imaginary groundhog in the center

Groundhog Day Cupcake

Groundhog Day Cupcake

Drink Like a Hog: Cocktails and Drinks

Alcohol and Groundhog Day go together like… well, we don’t know what, but it’s a sufficient excuse to try out some unfamiliar party cocktails! How about a Queen Elizabeth, a cocktail with Dry vermouth, Bénédictine, and lime juice. Something a little more wintery would be a Clover Club, a sweet mix of gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, and an egg white. If you and your guests loved the movie, serve them a sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist, a cocktail loved by Andie MacDowell and loathed by Bill Murray. Quite a grand name for such a simple cocktail: sweet vermouth with squeezed, stirred lemon juice with a lemon twist as garnish.

Queen Elizabeth cocktail

Queen Elizabeth

Clover Club cocktail

Clover Club

Sweet vermouth cocktail

Sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist

Early spring, longer winter, who cares: we’re just happy we get another reason to cook, drink, converse, and make memories!  And to that, we say, happy Groundhog Day!

Something like that.

Something like that.

Sources: Groundhog Day Wiki, The Punxsatawney Groundhog Club, How to Plan a Groundhog Day Party, Groundhog Day Party Menu

5 Responses to “Groundhog Day: The Forgotten Excuse to Party”

  1. Sharon Says:

    cute! TBS was playing groundhog’s day with Bill Murray all day. I think I watched it like 3 times!

  2. ed pierce Says:

    What an excuse to have a party, Groundhog Day! Maybe with the moving playing on a loop in the background.

  3. Banda Says:

    If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of Winter. Germans watched a badger for the shadow. In Pennsylvania, the groundhog, upon waking from mid-Winter hibernation, was selected as the replacement.

  4. JennyCrane Says:

    I will use any holiday, even the most minor ones, as a reason to celebrate. Good friends, awesome eats, and party accoutrements make it all the better. Those hot dogs are to die for, and those cupcakes are hilarious! ha ha ha! And, you know, I wouldn’t mind drinking some of those fantastic looking draaaaanks!


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