Who are you going to believe?
Octoraro Orphie, Lancaster County's own groundhog of high renown, did not see his shadow Monday morning, signifying an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil, the pretender from western Pennsylvania, apparently filed a contrarian report. He did see his shadow, representatives for the Pittsburgh-area marmot said, meaning six more weeks of winter.
So, which do you trust?
Octoraro Orphie makes his forecast for the coming spring bright and early in the morning annually on Feb. 2. This year, the mist lay heavy over the Octorara Creek as members of the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge of Quarryville and a few dozen onlookers made their way to the Pinnacle of Prognostication.
For one magical day each year, the old wooden manure spreader parked outside the Chateau in the Valley of White Rock, Kirkwood, takes on mystical qualities as lodge members — most garbed in top hats and white coats — gather for the yearly forecast. Neither the morning rain, the bitter cold nor the slush that remained after the overnight snow and sleet dissuaded them from attending the annual rite of spring.
Given the rain and fog, it's only natural that Orphie failed to see his shadow. One wonders how Phil manages the feat — some critics opined that the bright lights of the TV cameras gave Phil a false positive.
This is Orphie's 107th Groundhog Day. He makes his prognostication by the banks of Octorara Creek, outside the Chateau in the Valley of White Rock, 248 White Rock Road, Kirkwood.
The event is an excuse for various shenanigans, pomp and hoopla by members of the Slumbering Lodge, along with dozens — sometimes hundreds — of spectators who turn up each year for the fun.
Groundhog Day, a Pennsylvania German tradition dating to the 18th century and rooted in European folklore, is celebrated each year on Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas, in the United States and Canada.
According to tradition, a groundhog will emerge from its burrow on a cloudy day, signifying an early end to winter. If the groundhog sees its shadow under sunny skies, however, it will retreat underground, indicating six more weeks of cold weather.
Hibernating Governor Rick Rankin was optimistic Monday morning, despite the intermittent rain and fog.
"Things are looking good," he said. "We'd like the weather to be a little nicer, but we can work with any weather."
The air was thick with moisture and the competing odors of cigar smoke and black powder, the latter from a small cannon fired promptly at 7:24 a.m. and again at 7:44 to summon revelers to the event.
Lodge members came together in good cheer, with merry cries of "Happy Groundhog Day" as they met. Many carried beverages not normally associated with breakfast to help get them in the proper holiday spirit.
The event featured presentations by the various squads of the lodge, including skits, questionable poetry and discordant singing.
One lucky inductee into the lodge — this year Dr. Christopher Cooke, a local orthopedic surgeon — was baptized into the order with a dip in the icy Octorara. Lodge member John Girvin entertained the crowd with a vigorous, shambling groundhog jig.
Of course, Orphie and Phil aren't the only whistlepigs making weather forecasts.
In Lancaster County, Ephrata's Cocalico Cal also failed to see his shadow during an appearance Saturday (yes, he arose two days too soon) at Thomas P. Grater Community Park in Ephrata.
On Monday, Mount Joy Minnie saw her shadow from her post off Main Street, taking Phil's side in the dispute.
State Island Chuck, from New York, broke the tie by siding with Orphie.
Also marking the day, the seventh annual Groundhog Day Parade stepped off Monday afternoon at Valentino’s Cafe on the western edge of Lancaster.
About 150 people, some wearing special groundhog-inspired costumes, gathered shortly before 1 p.m. to take the short trek around the neighborhood tavern.
The parade began as a joke in 2009 when one of the owners of the eatery decided to organize a fun celebration.
They don’t do the groundhog-sees-his-shadow thing. The group sends someone outside, and if they come back in shivering, we have six more weeks of winter.
The results this year: Six more weeks of winter.