Forget Phil, Lehigh Valley Has Its Own Groundhogs

You don’t have to travel to Punxsutawney to get a groundhog’s take on when spring will arrive.

For the fifth time in six years, Wehr’s Dam in South Whitehall will be the backdrop for a local Groundhog Day event — complete with men in top hats and “groundhogs” making a prognostication.

Grundsau Lodge no. 16, one of several in the area that was formed to preserve the language and traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch, will again host its Groundhog Day event on Thursday, Feb. 2, along Jordan Creek in the township.

Yahdee (who has seen a taxidermist) and “grandson” Lee will sled or float 150 feet down Jordan Creek on a raft toward Wehr’s dam, then Lee (um, a groundhog puppet) will be brought on land and whisper the prediction to the lodge’s president.

If the groundhogs see their shadow, they will be frightened and want to run back into their burrow, and six more weeks of winter will follow, according to traditions brought to America by German (Pennsylvania Dutch) immigrants. If they don’t, spring is around the corner. 

At the event in South Whitehall, all songs, the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer will be done in Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, lending to the event’s authenticity, said David Adam, Haaptmann (president) of Grundsau Lodge no. 16 in Orefield.

Some 75 to 125 people have turned out for past events, he said, depending on the weather and the day of the week that Groundhog Day falls. Last year, the event had to be cancelled because of icy conditions.

Grundsau Lodge no. 16, which was established 41 years ago, has about 180 members.

Forget Phil, Lehigh Valley Has Its Own Groundhogs


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