Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow early Tuesday morning on Feb. 2 that there would be six more weeks of winter, very fitting for a movie night hosted by Rowan Student University Programmer.
Six more weeks of winter pales in comparison to the adventures Phil Conners endured during Rowan Student University Programmer’s viewing of the 1993 film, “Groundhog Day.”
Students braved the elements of a blistering Tuesday night on their way to the Student Center Ballroom to enjoy a holiday classic, free prizes, and of course, popcorn.
Starring Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day,” tells the story of Pittsburgh weatherman Phil Conners and his struggles trapped in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania during its most celebrated day of the year.
For citizens of the small town, Groundhog Day is one of appreciation, but for Conners, a day that he could not escape, as every morning he would wake up doomed to relive the holiday over.
Directed by Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day details Conners’ growth as a person, letting on as a narcissistic weatherman and being forced to rehaul his shadowed perspective on the small town. Star supporting cast Andie MacDowell (Rita) and Chris Elliot (Larry), play vital roles in aiding Conners throughout the film, acting as conduits for his final realization.
Students in attendance were comedically relieved throughout the film, breaking out in hysterical laughter over Murray’s exceptional performance. One lucky attendee, however, enjoyed VIP treatment. Upon entering the ballroom, students are handed a raffle ticket for a chance at winning a free pizza and access to the sole couch available. The raffle is drawn before the film, thus creating a theatre level atmosphere for the winner to enjoy.
The festivities do not stop there. After attending one SUP Movie Night, students are handed a punch-out card, and upon revisiting the event every Tuesday, can receive prizes for their running total of movies. Upon punching three holes in the card, students will receive a small goodie bag. After five holes, a free SUP T-Shirt, and after ten, a free television. Students were quick to get their cards punched, so as not to miss Punxsutawney Phil’s weather report the following morning.
The history of Groundhog Day dates back to 1886 when the newspaper The Punxsutawney Spirit declared Feb. 2 the holiday, and since, 127 weather predictions have been made by the famous marmot. With easy criteria, shadow or no shadow, it could be presumed the results should be evenly distributed, but that is far from the case. Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and predicted more winter, a whopping 107 times. The mere 20 instances he has not seen a shadow proves an early spring to be rare, but ultimately brings the crowd back every year holding on for that slightest bit of hope.
This disparity would not be noticeable when looking at the last ten years of Groundhog Day forecasts.
Since 2012, Phil has not seen his shadow for four years and has seen his shadow for six years. The last 10 years have made up about 20% of all the early springs recorded in the holiday’s history. Although 2022 did not follow the recent uptick in no-shadows, it drew the largest crowd for the event in history. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021’s Groundhog Day was done virtually, a first for the tradition. In turn, the passionate fans of Punxsutawney Phil showed out in numbers on Wednesday, being deprived of non-human weather predictions for a calendar year.
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