On this first day of summer I would suggest we move Groundhog Day to around May 10th, or roughly six weeks before the Summer Solstice.
The rationale is really quite simple and sensible for several reasons.
First and foremost, the groundhog is never correct in its prediction of whether or not there will be six more weeks of winter. Let’s face it, you’re dealing with a fat, furry rodent who is perfectly snug and asleep when its violently rousted at dawn by a guy who grabs it by the scruff of its neck with the sole purpose of determining whether the groundhog sees its shadow on a crappy February morning when there’s never any sun that would generate said penumbra. What the groundhog is seeing is red because it wants to get back to sleep. That leaves it up to the rouster to simply fabricate the big announcement. Doesn’t matter. Either way the weather is likely to suck for the next six weeks so what’s the point? Sees its shadow, doesn’t see its shadow. Who cares? Spring will get here when it’s good and damned ready… so don’t push it.
Pushing Groundhog Day, if there must be one, to May 10th would still allow the town of Punxsutawney, PA to suck tourists into the ersatz event, only the results would actually be more definitive. Screw looking for a shadow. Place a calendar with a handful of peanuts outside the sleepy guy’s hole, and gently poke him. He’ll still be pissed off but he’s sure to walk over to the calendar to snag the nuts. If you put the nuts on the right date, he’ll make a beeline to the snack and find himself standing right on the start of summer. Then you can accurately announce, “the groundhog has duly verified the Summer Solstice will occur on June 21st!” It’s foolproof. The rodent is right every time, people aren’t given false hope of an early onset of nicer weather, no one freezes their asses off on a frigid February morning, Punxsutawney makes its nut for the year and everyone goes home happy. What’s the hook then, if there’s no drama about the outcome? Ah..that’s the part I saved for last. Pets would be allowed to accompany their owners to the event totally off their leashes. Bowser who scoops up the groundhog first…wins….breakfast, thereby changing the furry guy’s moniker to “Punxsutawney Fill.”