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What will Groundhog Day predict for Chicago?

Tumbleweed the groundhog looks for her shadow at Brookfield Zoo.

Tumbleweed the groundhog looks for her shadow at Brookfield Zoo.

 

UPDATE: Tumbleweed and Woodstock Willie predict an early spring.

 

Will the groundhogs see their shadows Tuesday, Feb. 2, and give us six more weeks of winter? Or can we expect an early spring?

The historic Woodstock Opera House forms a backdrop to the village's Groundhog Days.

The historic Woodstock Opera House forms a backdrop to the village’s Groundhog Days, starting Thursday.

While you’re waiting to find out, head for northwest suburban Woodstock. The historic village, where the 1993 movie, “Groundhog Day,” with Bill Murray was filmed, holds its annual Groundhog Days celebration beginning Thursday, Jan. 28.

You, too, can put your foot on a plaque reading “Bill Murray Stepped Here,” on the spot where the actor stepped into a huge hole in the movie.

Events begin at 6 p.m. Thursday with the Groundhog Days Beer & Wine Sampling Social at D.C. Cobb’s. Weekend events include the “Awakening of the Groundhog” ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at the historic 1889 Woodstock Opera House, where Murray’s character took a fateful dive from the belfry; hot chocolate and Groundhog Day movie trivia at Stage Left Cafe; a “Shake Off the Winter Blues Dinner Dance”; walking tours of the filming sites and free showings of the movie; the Groundhog Days Chili Cook-Off; and more.

The fest culminates at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, when fest goers gather on Woodstock Square to see furry prognosticator Woodstock Willie emerge from his tree trunk home to the tune of a polka band, followed by the Groundhog Days Breakfast at Pirro’s Restaurante.

Closer to Chicago, the weather critters at Brookfield Zoo, Tumbleweed and Cloudy, will be coaxed out of their winter quarters at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, by a breakfast of specially made sweet potato cakes. The Groundhog Day Parade follows, plus afternoon kids’ activities. After your day at the zoo, check out Brookfield’s Xni-pec, which serves authentic Mayan cuisine from the Yucatan.