On February 2, 1887, the first official Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The man who came up with this idea was a newspaper editor named Clymer Freas. He approached the group collectively known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club about this. On this day they would hike to a place called Gobbler’s knob and what for the groundhog to foretell the weather future. Normally this was bad news.
The yearly festivities are still held in Punxsutawney, PA and presided over by a modern day version of the Punxsutawney groundhog club; they are called the Inner Circle. Its members wear top hats and conduct the proceedings in Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and are rumored to speak to the groundhog in “groundhogese”. Tens of thousands people attend the festivities annually.
Punxsutawney Phil has a 40% success rate for predicting the correct forecast so far. The groundhog named “Staten Island Chuck” is reported have a 70% success rate.
In Vermillion, Ohio they rely on the Wooly Bear caterpillar for their forecasting. If the caterpillars have more orange than black coloring in the fall, the following winter will be mild. This has been going on since 1972 and about 100,000 attend the festivities every year.