Illinois Movie Location Celebrates Every February
WOODSTOCK, ILL. — A quarter century ago, something astonishing happened here. A camera crew came to town, moved tons of equipment into the historic town square and an “oompah” band began playing the “Pennsylvania Polka” over and over and over again. They had come to film a movie that would become a cult favorite among young and old alike, Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.
Today, every day is Groundhog Day in Woodstock, and if you’re among the millions of fans who view the classic film over and over again, this McHenry County town 50 miles northwest of Chicago throws a mid-winter party you’ll not want to miss. In the movie, Murray woke up here morning after morning after morning, and you can, too, during Woodstock’s “Groundhog Days” festival, February 1-5.
Groundhog Days celebrates the making of the movie, when the town stood in for Punxsutawney, Pa., home of the legendary forecasting rodent. Things start Wednesday, Feb. 1, with Groundhog Storytime at the Woodstock Opera House. Festivities wrap up on Sunday, Feb. 5, with Pancake Breakfast, Groundhog Day movie showings, and walking tours of filming sites.
In between, events include: Welcoming the Groundhog, Groundhog Trivia, “Groundhog Day” the movie, Groundhog Day Prognostication, Drink to World Peace, “Official” Groundhog Day Breakfast, Meet Groundhog Day Writer Danny Rubin, Wine with Willie, Pop Up Bar, Dinner Dance, Groundhog Day Bags Tournament, Bingo, Pub Crawl, and Pancake Breakfast. Will there be six more weeks of winter?,
During events in Woodstock Square and on the walking tour, step on a plaque that reads “Bill Murray Stepped Here,” set into the curb where the actor plunged into a huge slush puddle in the movie. The walking tour includes 14 sites where memorable movie scenes such as that were shot. A favorite is the exquisitely restored Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, portrayed in the movie as the Cherry Street Inn, the boarding house where Murray woke up over and over and over again. You, too, can wake up over and over again in the 1894 “painted lady”.
If you can’t make it to Groundhog Days this winter, you can download a self-guided walking tour of the filming sites and visit them over and over again on your own, any day of the year. You’ll find the walking tour, plus a detailed list of all the Groundhog Days events, > HERE
Plan an Overnight in Woodstock & McHenry County
Woodstock is located an easy driving distance from Chicago, Rockford, and Milwaukee. Woodstock Square is located 1 mile west of the intersection of Lake St. and Ill. Rte. 47, just 12 miles north of I-90. For an even more enjoyable experience, take Metra for relaxing travel to Woodstock! The Woodstock Station is in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of all Groundhog Days events.
McHenry County is just an hour’s drive northwest of Chicago, bordered on the north by Wisconsin, and on the south by I-90. The Fox River winds down from the Chain of Lakes through the towns on the eastern side of the county, while country roads meander the western side. For visitor information, >CLICK HERE