Sun Prairie takes a turn in the national spotlight this Saturday, Feb. 2 when Sun Prairie’s Jimmy the Groundhog puts his 80 percent accuracy rate on the line against Punxsutawney Phil and other groundhog imposters.
Groundhog Day festivities will begin just after 6:50 a.m. in Cannery Square in downtown Sun Prairie.
Jimmy will be escorted by the Sun Prairie Fire Department and arrive at 7 a.m. at Cannery Square, where Mayor John Murray will host the morning’s proceedings.
Jimmy, the Mayor and Jimmy’s handler Jerry Hahn will be available for questions and comments following the prognostication.
There will be a limited amount of media parking reserved immediately adjacent to the Cannery Square plaza area.
In addition, there is plenty of public parking nearby throughout downtown Sun Prairie.
In addition, downtown Sun Prairie merchants are offering a “Find Jimmy” Scavenger Hunt. Visitors to Sun Prairie’s Main Street and Cannery Square will be able to win prizes if they can “find” Jimmy hidden at participating locations.
Pick up a "punch" card at the Market Street Diner, then find Jimmy and mark on the "punch" card in the business where you've spotted him
Completed cards can be returned to Market Street Diner on Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3. Winners will be contacted the following week.
Other Groundhog Day specials include “Tom and Jimmy's” -- a special drink -- will be available for purchase at Eddie's Ale House, and Beans 'n Cream Coffeehouse will be selling Chocolate Jimmies. In addition, local restaurants will also be serving breakfast.
available at Market Street Diner, 110 Market St.
Several downtown businesses will be hosting special promotions to celebrate Groundhog Day, including:
• A breakfast buffet at Market Street Diner (110 Market St.); and
• Special promotions at Eddie’s Alehouse, Beans 'n Cream, and Prairie
Flowers & Gifts.
At 7:12 a.m. -- sunrise -- Jimmy will make his prediction. As legend has it, if Jimmy sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.
If Jimmy does not see his shadow, an early spring prediction will be delivered by Mayor John Murray -- who, according to legend, is the only human who can converse in Jimmy’s native tongue, groundhogese.
A phone hotline 608-318-8712 will be in use to deliver the news of Jimmy the Groundhog’s prediction to radio stations and others curious about the prediction.
During the Wisconsin Centennial in 1948, the groundhog became identified as a major political and prophetic force in Sun Prairie.
The Groundhog Club was formed using a falsified postcard in 1949 with Margaret McGonigle as president; Emden Schey, secretary, and Stanley Fisher, treasurer. The Chamber of Commerce voted to sponsor Sun Prairie as “Groundhog Capital of the World.”
The year 1952 was an important one in the groundhog’s advance to national prominence. After winning the war with Punxsutawney, Sun Prairie declared itself the Groundhog Capital of the World and it is recorded in the Congressional Record that way.
Various keepers of Sun Prairie’s official groundhog included the Lenz and Krisher families.
For more information on this event or on Downtown Sun Prairie visit these sites:
Downtown Sun Prairie: http://www.downtownsunprairie.com/
Downtown Sun Prairie (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/DowntownSunPrairie
Jimmy the Groundhog: http://www.groundhogcentral.com/
Jimmy the Groundhog (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/Jimmythegroundhog