It may be a holiday that originated in a small town in Pennsylvania, but Groundhog Day gets a lot of love in Illinois. That’s mostly due to a little movie that celebrated the rodent-focused day in an especially Midwestern way. The Bill Murray vehicle was filmed in Woodstock in the early ‘90s, and that’s something the McHenry County town commemorates each year with its Groundhog Days.
The four days of fun center around everything groundhog, from a woodchuck-themed story time to Woodstock Willie’s prognostication on Feb. 2 (he puts Punxsatawny Phil to shame). Plus, there’s movie trivia, a tour of the movie’s sights (remember that B&B where Phil Connors woke up again and again … and again?), and even a Groundhog Day Pub Crawl (grownups only, please). For truly out-of-the-box fun, check out Groundhog Carving—not as gruesome as it sounds!—or try your hand at Groundhog Bowling or Bingo.
Sunday, dubbed Woodstock Willie’s Family Fun Day, is set aside just for families. It kicks off with Breakfast with Woodstock Willie, followed by a fun fair complete with groundhog crafts, photo booth, games, face painting, balloon artist and more. The rodent of the hour will make periodic appearances throughout the day. And be sure to include at least one viewing of the movie, which will be shown (for free!) at 10 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Classic Cinemas Woodstock. It’s a classic for a reason—and this special Illinois town’s claim to fame.
If you go
Free; some activities cost extra