HANNA CITY, Ill. (WMBD) — Sunday might be Superbowl Sunday, but it was also Groundhog Day around the United States.
Groundhog Day has been celebrated every February 2 since 1886 starting in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with Punxsutawney Phil. Lucky for us in Central Illinois, we have Gertie. Gertie is Wildlife Prarie Park‘s very own weather-predicting rodent.
“Gertie has been doing predictions well over 10 years now. This Gertie has been doing it for about four years now,” said Animal and Education director, Adrian Bauer.
Unfortunately, for those wanting warmer weather, Gertie did see her shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter.
“Yeah, so she saw her shadow and that means six more weeks of winter,” Bauer said.
“Not good. That’s actually quite annoying. However, it is what it is,” said Sammy Varness and her friends.
In contrast, Phil up in Pennsylvania did not see his shadow but Gertie is the true weather authority.
“She’s about 50 percent more accurate than Punxsutawney Phil. “Sometimes they differ in their opinion and most of the time, she ends up being right in contrast to him,” Bauer said.
Gertie may not have given the prediction anyone wanted, but the event was still enjoyed by all.
“I think it’s really cool how everybody gets together and shares the same love for Gertie,” Varness said.
“I think Groundhog’s Day is a little bit underrated, but actually, it’s very fun,” Varness said.
“Yeah, it is very fun,” said Savanah Lewis.
Gertie also picks the 49ers to beat the Chiefs in Superbowl 54. Her keeper says she usually pick fellow animal mascots, but since none of the teams this year are animals, Gertie went with the fellow digger.
Wildlife Prarie Park has been celebrating the annual holiday since 1993.