Holidays

Head to Milltown for Groundhog Day Fun

c1cdf8aaeb28649ef8d1_milltownmel.jpg
Experience Groundhog Day firsthand in Milltown on Friday, February 2 and see if Milltown Mel predicts an early spring. Credits: Tapinto East Brunswick
c1cdf8aaeb28649ef8d1_milltownmel.jpg

MILLTOWN, NJ - For folks that have been fans of the Bill Murray classic "Groundhog Day," but can't make the trek all the way out to Punxsutawney, PA on a work and school day to see if winter will stay around for six more weeks or if the region will see an early spring, there's a Garden State alternative that is closer than you think.

Milltown has been celebrating Groundhog Day in style for the past nine winters courtesy of Jerry and Cathy Guthlein, the owners of Milltown Mel. The inaugural Groundhog Day took place at the Bronson and Guthlein Funeral Home. However, it didn't take long for the February 2 tradition to grow and the enthusiasm for Groundhog Day to catch on. Today, Milltown Mel checks his shadow every February 2 at the American Legion Post 25 on 4 JFK Drive.

The original Milltown Mel made his predictions for seven winters until he quietly passed in his sleep in the summer of 2016. Milltown Mel II took over the duties, making his first prediction in 2016. The Guthlein's were huge fans of Murray's "Groundhog Day," taking a trip out to Punxsutawney to experience the time-honored tradition first hand. Jerry Guthlein even penned a book about Mel's adventures, titled "Milltown Mel: A Groundhog's Story." The children's book is available online.

Sign Up for E-News

Punxsutawney's first Groundhog's Day dates all the way back to 1887. However, the tradition stretches back even further, beginning with ancient Christians who marked Candlemas Day. Clergymen would handout blessed candles. The candles would mark how long and cold the winter would be. This tradition was passed along to the Germans who added an important component; an animal who renders weather predictions.

German settlers brought the ritual to Pennsylvania, making one significant change. Originally, the folks in Germany utilized a hedgehog to predict whether or not spring would arrive early. When the German settlers were unable to locate a hedgehog in their new home, they substituted a groundhog and the rest as they say is history.

The Milltown Wranglers, dressed in black overcoats and top hats, will be on hand to see whether or not Mel will see his shadow. Festivities begin at 7 a.m. on Friday, February 2. Milltown Mel will be making his 2018 prediction at around 7:20 a.m. Visitors are invited to join in on the Groundhog Day fun. Noise makers are welcome to help wake up Mel for his big moment. Coffee and doughnuts will be served afterwards at the American Legion.

Now, as legend has it, if the groundhog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. Last year, Mel predicted an early spring and the area had a surprise March blizzard that dropped around a half of foot of snow in Milltown and the surrounding communities. So, what's it going to be this year Mel? An early spring or a longer winter?

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Pinkin Resolution to Raise Awareness of Gun Violence passes Assembly

May 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez, Angela McKnight and Nancy Pinkin resolution to raise awareness of gun violence was voted out of the Assembly 67-0 on Thursday.
            The measure (AJR-100) designates June 2 of each year as “Gun Violence Awareness Day” in New Jersey in order to promote ...

Learn How to “Ace The Interview” at the East Brunswick Public Library

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Looking for a new job? East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) is here to help. The library offers a special program called “Acing the Interview” on Saturday, June 16 at 10:30 am, which is designed to help jobseekers.

“Acing the Interview” focuses on what many feel is the most stressful part of the job search process: ...

East Brunswick Public Library Launches “EB Grow” Seed Library

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Every spring, library customers visit East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) to find resources on how to garden. Thanks to a joint partnership between East Brunswick Public Library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, gardeners will be able to get some “seed money” to start their first crops for the year.

The ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...