The crowd gathered in the Woodstock Square this morning seemed smaller than usual, and they were quieter than in previous years. In past years they have almost approached raucous, but today they were more subdued. Snow had been cleared from the sidewalks in the Square, and the crowd overflowed the cleared areas and moved closer for a better look, as Woodstock Willie emerged, “reluctantly” as the proclamation reads, and did not see his shadow – forecasting an early spring in our area. Don’t we just hope?
Willie did almost make his escape, while his handler was showing him to the crowd after the prognostication. During one photo op the handler leaned over the railing from the gazebo and held Willie close to a family group posed for a picture. That was about the best, up-close look the crowd got of Willie.
As in previous years the media totally disregarded the public at the moment of the prognostication and surrounded Willie, standing between Willie and the crowd gathered for the event, so that the “common folks” gathered for the event got only a good look at the backsides of the photographers. Somebody on the Groundhog Committee needs to explain to the photogs that the event is for the people who are gathered, not for them. They should be welcome to get their shots for the news, but not at the expense of the crowd gathered.
I’ve observed this in past years, and it has gone unchecked by the Committee. Do they notice? Do they care?
Several years ago I founded the Woodstock Chapter of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The original idea was to create a social organization in Woodstock that would meet at various times during the year for networking opportunities, whether business or social. One year the banner of the Chapter was on display at Studio 2015 and another year at Tip Top Bistro. A few gatherings were announced, including at Sub-Zero. Heck, maybe I’m bad luck for businesses. Two of them have closed, and the third has moved off the Square.