Groundhog Day 2013
Charlotte Nature Museum
1658 Sterling Road, Charlotte
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Local meteorologists aside, what's the best way to predict the weather around Charlotte? For one day each year, we put aside Doppler radar and five day forecasts and turn to Marmota monax - the common groundhog. Groundhog Day is always celebrated on February 2, which falls on a Saturday in 2013. Legend says that when the groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, if it's sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, he retreats back inside and we have six more weeks of winter. If its cloudy and the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, he emerges and spring arrives early.
Of course, when you think Groundhog Day, images of Bill Murray or Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania come to mind. While Punxsutawney does boast the largest and most famous celebration, plenty of cities have their own groundhog and their own celebration.
Charlotte's official Groundhog Day celebration is held annually at the Charlotte Nature Museum. Things kick off this year at 10 a.m., and events continue throughout the day until 5 p.m. Charlotte's resident groundhog is appropriately named Queen Charlotte even though he's a male (although I'm personally a little partial to Raleigh's groundhog - Sir Walter Wally). Queen Charlotte is expected to emerge at about 11:30 a.m. All activities are free with museum admission, which is $6 for adults.
Did you know that Groundhog Day is observed in the United States and Canada, as well as parts of Australia? The date marks the exact midway point the Vernal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Groundhog Day traces its origins from the French festival of Candlemas.