Woodstock gets set for Groundhog Day events (with schedule)

Welcome Woodstock Willie back to town as the groundhog makes his first appearance at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the roof of the Woodstock Opera House and help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the filming of the movie "Groundhog Day" in the city.

Willie will give his prognostication at 7 a.m. Tuesday. An official breakfast will follow at Pirro's Restaurant.

Other events include an open house and movie memorabilia display at Woodstock Public Library from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Shake Off the Winter Blues Dinner Dance at 6 p.m. Friday at the Moose Lodge, and Take 17, Lights, Camera, Auction at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at D'Andrea Banquets in Crystal Lake.

For information, call 815-334-2620 or visit www.woodstockgroundhog.org.


The following events are planned:

Welcoming of the Groundhog
6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1
Woodstock Willie, the resident groundhog, will make his explosive appearance on the roof of the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St.
Then, join other movie fans for a trivia contest with prizes at Pirro's Restaurante, 228 Main St. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, all "extras" are invited to attend.

Groundhog Day Prognostication
7 to 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at "Gobbler's Knob," otherwise known as the Woodstock Square Park.
Gather on the Square to see Woodstock Willie emerge from his tree trunk home just as he did during the film.
Grammy award winning recording artist Bryan White, a fan of the film and friend of Woodstock resident Erik Borman, will assist with the prognostication. White and his wife Erika Page White, actress from "One Life to Live" and "Second Noah" were invited by Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager to take part in the event. White as performed at the Opera House for the past several years.

Official Groundhog Day Breakfast
7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at Pirro's Restaurante, 228 Main St.
Along with a buffet breakfast, entertainment will be provided. Seating is limited. Tickets cost $15, and should be purchased in advance at Woodstock Public Library, Home State Bank and McHenry County Community Foundation.

Free movie showings
5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2; 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 ;and 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theater, 209 Main St.
Columbia Pictures filmed most of "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray in Woodstock in 1992. The theater was featured as "Alpine Theater" in the movie. Seating is limited, so arrive early.

Shake Off the Winter Blues Charity Dinner Dance
6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Feb. 3, at the Woodstock Moose Lodge and Family Center, 406 Clay St., where the Dinner Dance and Bachelor Auction scenes were filmed. Italian buffet dinner served from 6 to 7:30 p.m., followed by live music and a silent auction. This year's entertainment is the band, "28 Days."
Tickets cost $15 and are available at the Lodge, Woodstock Public Library, Home State Bank, McHenry County Community Foundation and Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.

Groundhog Tales
10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Home State Bank, 124 Johnson St.
Emmy Award-winning storyteller and writer Jim May hosts. Listen to him tell stories about groundhogs and their prognostications.

Chili Cook-Off
12 to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St.

Contestants vie for the coveted "Chili Pot" and the public is invited to taste all entries and vote for the People's Choice award. Potential contestants can go to www.woodstockgroundghog.org for details on how to enter.

Walking Tours of the Filming Sites
1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4; and noon Sunday, Feb. 5. Gather at Stage Left Cafe, 125 W. Van Buren St.
A fun and informative tour of the "Groundhog Day" filming sites lead by Bob Hudgins, who was the location manager for the film. The "Piano Teacher's House" will be plaqued during the tour.

Movie Symposium
3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Stage Left Cafe.
Host Dr. Mitchell Olson, an educator and film enthusiast. Learn something new, see plenty of clips from the movie and take part in an interesting, lively and probing discussion, including "Where are they now?"

Take 17, Lights, Camera, Auction
5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at D'Andrea Banquets, 4419 Route 14, Crystal Lake
Includes live and silent auctions, a reverse raffle and entertainment. District 200 Education Foundation was first organized using funds from auctioning props from the movie that were donated by Columbia Pictures. Tickets available at the District 200 Administration Office, 217 W. Judd St., Woodstock.

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