2020 Groundhog Day Celebration Schedule

January 30, 2020

SUNRISE IN THE PARK 07:33
AWAKENING OF POPS 07:10-07:20
PROGNOSTICATION BY POPS  07:30-07:45
CERTIFICATION OF THE POPS’ PROCLAMATION 08:00
ARCHONS’ ADDRESS 08:15
PARADE OF ARCHONS 08:30 – 08:45
READING: SELECTED PASSAGES FROM “PRINCIPLES OF ANTICIPATORY ZOOCRACY” 09:00 – 09:15
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: ENDEKA ELEPHANT BAND 09:20 – 09:40
COMEDY SET: WOODRUFF DALMATIO 09:45 – 09:55
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: LAST STAND 10:00 – 10:15
PERFORMANCE BY THE HERMAN STOAT DANCE COMPANY 10:20 – 10:45
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: POLAR OPPOSITES 10:50 – 11:05
DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE: MIME BY THE WORKING WOUNDED PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY 11:10 – 11:25
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: BHR (Big Hearts Rule) 11:30 – 11:50
GROUNDHOG DAY PARADE 12:00 – 13:00
2KM TUNNEL RACE 14:00

All events take place February 2, 2020. All times are approximate.
© Department of Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations, The Park

Please note: Food stations at the Ancient Open-Air Theatre will open at 8:00 am on 2 February and close at 8:00 am on 3 February

The Countdown Clock is Up!

January 9, 2020

Attention, Groundhog Day revellers:

The official countdown to Groundhog Day 2020 has begun!

It’s time to make your grooming house appointments and brush up on your Groundhog Day lore. And don’t miss this wonderful exhibition at The Park Museum, on until 31 March 2020: “The Means and the Message: A Decade of Prognostication Pads.”

Some Nitty Gritty Groundhog Day Facts

January 9, 2020

Groundhog-sees-shadowA major Park occasion, Groundhog Day has its roots deep in the Animal tradition of weather prognostication. The Park’s elaborate, all-day celebration of this important day attracts many thousands of resident Animals annually. But modern Park life has endowed the day with a political significance, as well. Park citizens, eager to discover what the new year has in store for them, await the annual Archons’ address, the first speech given by the 35 newly-selected Archons.

In the Beginning…
In the beginning, there was the Groundhog. One of The Park’s founding families, the Groundhogs staked out their territory in the prairie lands of The Park long before Zoocracy was established (in those dark days before Zoocracy!).

A Little Later…
As more Animals began to inhabit The Park, the Groundhogs settled into their role as Park Elders. Oftentimes, it was the Groundhogs who were consulted in Park matters, particularly those of weatherly import.

The First Prediction
The first prediction of weather in The Park was made on 01 Barnabus 65 years before Zoocracy (BZ), by E. Bromley Groundhog. It was a casual prediction, made without fanfare, outside E. Bromley’s burrow. He predicted an early Spring. The Spring of 65 BZ arrived on 05 March. The present year is 2020, (38 AZ).

The Tradition
A second prediction was made, the following year, by E. Bromley Groundhog.  It, too, was an accurate prediction. In short order, it became an informal Winter tradition for Park Animals who were not hibernating to call on E. Bromley in his burrow at the beginning of Barnabus in order to hear his prediction for the coming Spring.

This went on until 57 BZ, when a delegation of Animals attended at E. Bromley’s burrow, only to discover that the venerable Groundhog had succumbed to old age. The delegation, at a loss for what to do, quickly appointed E. Bromley’s daughter and son to the post of “predictors.” In alternate years, both Groundhogs served as accurate “predictors,” until they passed on the job to their children.

Eventually, the growing number of E. Bromley’s descendants caused there to be competition for the respected post of “predictor.”  The Groundhogs began to engage in territorial wars and slanderous campaigns. In order to quell the rising tide of Groundhog anger, Park Archons decided to establish the title of Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS), and to award it, every year, to their own choice of E. Bromley’s descendants.

The Controversy
Animals evolve. Politics evolve. New blood refreshes tired, old organs, old assumptions no longer seem viable, and old rules no longer hold sway. In 23 AZ, a group that called itself “Spring’s Unsprung Heroes” brought forth a legal challenge to The Park’s age-old practice of awarding the job of Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS) to the descendants of E. Bromley Groundhog.

In his landmark decision in that case, Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon of The Park’s Superior Court wrote that “The Park’s current practice [of awarding the job on the basis of heritage] is unacceptable in a modern Park.”

Peabody Q. Groundhog was allowed to fulfill his duties as Park Official Prognosticator of Spring for 23 AZ. Thereafter, the Judge ruled, the position would be decided in an open election held every year on  7 November. The date of 7 November was chosen as the date of the election because it allows sufficient time for the winner to make preparations before the official hibernation date of 15 November.

Further Reading
For more information on The Park’s Groundhogs, we recommend:

Me and My Shadow
A Groundhog’s Memoirs
Nigel T. Groundhog
Birch Bark Books, 200 pages

Click here to read a review of the book.