It all started back in 1992. The historic city of Woodstock, Illinois was treated to a visit from Hollywood. Bill Murray and many other famous actors came to the Midwest to film a movie. 24 years later, the city continues to celebrate 'Groundhogs Day' in a grand way. Here's some of the plans that start this week.

 

As in the movie, you can almost hear the Pennsylvania Polka being played over and over in the picturesque Woodstock city square. Since I grew up in the area, I remember driving to Woodstock many times during filming to see my Dad in nearby Wonder Lake. Rolling into town, I remember plenty of RV Trailers circled around the outside of the square for weeks. The big movie trucks, camera rigging, even the stump smack in the middle of the southwest corner of the square where the main portions of the movie Groundhogs Day took place.

Getty Images

 

24 years are about to pass since that famous Groundhog Day when the movie was shot. Still, the city of Woodstock assembles each year to celebrate what brought the city world wide fame. According to WoodstockGroundhog.com. "We’ve had visitors from as far away as Australia, celebrities from the Groundhog Day movie and local media and everyone agrees that this festival is a great way to shake off the gloom of Winter, if just for a few days."

The celebration returns this week to Woodstock with festivities, dances at the VFW, and more. In fact, Woodstock Willie will once again be called upon to prognosticate the weather to determine if there will be an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. There's even bowling, a chili cook off and more all beginning this Thursday, January 28, and concluding right after February 2.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

According to the IllinoisTimes.com, "The festivities begin this year on January 28 with a dramatic awakening of the Groundhog on the balcony of the Woodstock Opera House, which served as the Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie. Over the weekend you can attend the Groundhog Day Dinner Dance, participate in a Groundhog Day trivia contest, take the walking tour of the filming sites, and watch the movie at the Woodstock Theater. The big event is at 7 a.m. on Feb. 2 in the Woodstock Square. Just as in the movie, a Polka Band will wake up Woodstock Willie for his Prognostication. Although most events are free, some activities require tickets or charge fees".

It's a fun family time. Given the wonderful architecture of the Woodstock Square, you will feel as if you've been transported in time to Pennsylvania, or at the least, the movie.

The perfect way to celebrate the day is to take in a showing of Bill Murray as Phil Connors in the movie Groundhogs Day campers. My wife hates it when we watch it together because I always point out friends in the movie as pedestrians, and city markers.

Yes, this movie is still that important to anyone who called or currently calls Woodstock, Illinois home.