About 2,000 people shivered for up to two hours Saturday to see Punxsutawney Phil emerge from his cushy, heated burrow and predict six more weeks of winter.
The groundhog cast a shadow over the nation after his handler coaxed him from a specially made tree stump into the clear dawn."Hopefully, this time he's wrong," said Dirk Boehmer of Stroudsburg.
The most devoted of Phil's followers, the 14 businessmen who comprise the celebrated rodent's Inner Circle, gathered in top hats on stage with the town's "Seer of Seers."
"This is crazy. I'd never do it again. It's too cold," said Mary Beth Pupo of Cresson.
At 7:27 a.m., the exact moment of the sunrise, Inner Circle President James H. Means rapped three times with a cane on Phil's yellow door. Handler Bud Dunkel reached in, gently woke Phil, and lifted the squirming rodent.
Means twice held Phil up to his face and softly questioned him, held the woodchuck to his ear for the answer and signaled for a proclamation.
Judge Edwin Snyder, reading from the scroll, reported to the audience of college students, families, tourists and reporters that Phil "signaled in clear groundhogese: `There's a shadow down there. Not especially dark or strong, but enough to call for six more weeks of winter.' "
The crowd, which began gathering about two hours before sunrise, cheered and booed before breaking up and drifting back to their cars.
Art Cassidy, 65, of Punxsutawney displayed the groundhog bite scars he got on his hands helping to build Phil's year-round home at the public library.