Groundhog Day Again in Woodstock, Illinois
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Annual Groundhog Days festival
An aging classic-rock cover band lays into a Bob Seger tune, and the flannel-wearing folks in Woodstock's Moose Lodge No. 1329 cheer and crack open $2.50 Miller Lites. Pasta buffet aside, the annual Shake Off the Winter Blues dinner-dance feels a little familiar, and not just because the setting in this Illinois town (50 miles northwest of Chicago) could pass for a Wisconsin North Woods bar. Actor Bill Murray lit up this 94-year-old lodge when he filmed Groundhog Day's bachelor auction scene here, and since then, fans return every year for a fun night out.
Woodstock's annual Groundhog Days festival (January 27 to Feb. 3, 2013) will hold trivia contests, storytelling, a chili cook-off, free film showings of the movie--and a guided walking tour of 14 plaque-marked film sites. "Woodstock is an absolute all-American small town making the most of its movie-making legacy," says Bob Hudgins, who worked on the movie and leads the tours.
After Woodstock Willie looks for his shadow, crowds head to Pirro's Restaurant for breakfast, a moment of homespun comfort before the journey back to reality.