Woodstock Residents Have Big Cause To Celebrate This Groundhog Day

Feb 1, 2017

We’ll find out Thursday if spring is around the corner, and some northern Illinois residents have a milestone to celebrate this Groundhog Day.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

It’s the 25th anniversary of filming for the movie “Groundhog Day,” and Woodstock residents live in the heart of where it was filmed.

The movie, starring Bill Murray, follows a reluctant weatherman sent to cover a story who becomes doomed to find Groundhog Day keeps repeating itself.

Each year, Woodstock residents have days of festivities planned around the holiday.

New events include telling stories of the filming inside the town’s iconic Opera House. It will  be the last time that movie location manager Bob Hudgins leads the storytelling. 

Other popular events include walking tours of filming sites and the Groundhog Day Pub Crawl.

Longtime Woodstock resident Rick Bellairs was an extra in the movie, and now he helps organize the Groundhog Day activities; he says there isn’t just one type of crowd that attends.

“You get kind of a mix. You get lots of people who are here from out of town just taking in part of the Groundhog Day festivities," he said. "But you also get lots of the local people who maybe were in the movie many years ago, and they just come to see it on the big screen again, and again, and again.”

Bellairs says one of his favorite parts is how people dress.

“The variety of Groundhog Day hats is amazing," he said. "People show up with all kinds of Groundhogs on their head on hats, pinned to their jacket. It’s certainly not a requirement, but that seems to have grown over the years.”

Festivities start tonight and go through Feb. 11.