Groundhog Day

A recent survey found that:

• 30 percent of respondents think Groundhog Day, observed since 1887, is a “pointless” holiday

• 13 percent celebrate Feb. 2 by watching the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day”

• 49 percent know what date Groundhog Day falls on

• 8 percent believe Punxsutawney Phil is always right about the weather


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Updated 8 minutes ago

The economic forecast for Groundhog Day is sunny, if average hotel rates are any indication.

The hotel search website found that hotel rates in the Punxsutawney area are actually higher than those in Houston for Super Bowl LI, mostly because of the lack of hotel rooms in the tiny Jefferson County borough.

Trivago spokesman Joe Baur said Western Pennsylvanians should take heart because even though the Pittsburgh Steelers fell short of the Super Bowl this year, the state still has the “hottest event” for February.

Last year, 10,000 people turned out to see if the legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow and return to his hole, forecasting six more weeks of winter weather, or didn't see his shadow, predicting an early spring.

The average hotel rate for Punxsutawney before Thursday is $446, while the average rate for Houston before Super Bowl Sunday is $343, Fenomenbet Baur said. The Punxsutawney rate drops to $131 the day after Groundhog Day.

“There just aren't many hotels in Punxsutawney to meet the demand, whereas Houston is better equipped to handle the large inflow of people,” he said.

Trivago's search encompassed nine destinations in Punxsutawney, including bed-and-breakfasts, and more than 550 in Houston. The Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce website shows two motels, two campgrounds and six B&Bs.

“In locations such as Punxsutawney, a dramatic increase in hotel rates is not out of the ordinary, especially for large, popular events,” Baur said. “When there is increased demand for accommodation for a special event, accommodation prices generally rise as a result.”

Destiny Slaughenhaupt, front desk clerk at the Best Western Inn & Conference Center in nearby DuBois, said she wasn't surprised by trivago's findings, given the popularity of Groundhog Day.

“I believe it because you get millions of people who go to Groundhog Day,” she said. “We get people from Alaska, all kinds of places.”

People from as far as China have visited Punxsutawney on Feb. 2, Slaughenhaupt said.

As of Tuesday, the Best Western still had five of its 56 rooms unbooked. “We will sell out,” she said. “This is our busiest time of year.”

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280 or

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