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CHICKASAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)-The Groundhog Day phenomenon in the U.S. has grown since the first gathering in 1887 in a small town of Pennsylvania. This yearly celebration has sparked similar traditions in our area.

Folks are lined up here in Chickasaw county Saturday to see if J.W. the ground hog will see his shadow. If he does, we will have six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t that means we have an early spring.

“We are down here in the anchor community. We have our own ground hog that’s Chickasaw J.W. This is just a big event down here,” says Sheriff Deputy James Meyers.

Local officials come dressed with their top hats similar to the ones they wear in the official ceremony. Each member has a role to play during the event. In the past Chickasaw JW was a live ground hog, but this year they had to make do with a replacement.

“At one time we had a live ground hog, but the ground hog nawed out of the cage and got away so we didn’t have the live ground hog today. We had the artificial one,” says Glen Vance.

Once the ground hog is pulled out of his cage and presented to the audience, then the verdict is read.

“Yeah, I’m excited…tired of this cold weather,” says Vance.

“I am, I’m glad for spring to be getting here. I’m ready for the sun to come out,” says Sheriff Deputy Meyers.

Gathering around a 9 gallon pot to enjoy some homemade stew while listening to a local musician is another tradition the anchor community enjoys on Groundhog Day.

“This has been going on now for three years and I hope I lasts for now on because it just brings the community together. We have a pretty good crowd here today and we are fixing to have a real good stew,” says Sheriff Deputy Meyers.

Next year they hoping to have a live ground hog.

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