PUNXSUTAWNEY (KDKA/AP) – Today is Groundhog Day and everyone was eagerly waiting to see if Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow.

The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog say the furry rodent has failed to see his shadow, meaning he’s “predicted” an early spring.

The crowds started building early this morning at Gobbler’s Knob. Groundhog lovers from around the world descended on Punxsutawney, including one newcomer making her first visit.

“All the groundhog hats, like you are so awesome, and I am so happy I came out for this,” Miss Pennsylvania Elena LaQuatra said.

The national anthem was performed by Amanda Runge, a singer from Chicago and of course, there were fireworks to help wake Phil from his winter slumber.

After the introduction of the Inner Circle, they got down to the main event with a lesson on the proceedings.

“With this cane, it gives me the power to speak in groundhog or to understand and also speak in Groundhogese,” Punxsutawney Groundhog Club President Bill Deeley said.

Phil was extracted from his stump at 7:20 a.m. and given the chance to look around. After a quick translation, he proclaimed that there would be an early spring this year.

It is just the 18th time since 1887 that Phil has called for an early spring. Now, we have to wait to see if he’s right.

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob. The tiny hill is located just outside the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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