Original Publication Date: 10 January 2010
The mood is sombre in the office of Wyatt Whistlepig, Jr.
“No one envies me these days,” says the chief organizer of The Park’s Groundhog Day celebrations.
Less than two weeks before one of the biggest events in The Park’s calendar, The Department of Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations has slashed his budget, sending Whistlepig scrambling out of his hibernaculum to make sure this year’s celebrations properly reflect the tenor of the festivities.
“This holiday is a major Park occasion. It signals the coming of Spring, the renewal of life, the hope of the future. It is not just about a prediction; it is about a certainty — the certainty that we have survived, and that we will thrive, no matter what we face,” Whistlepig proclaims.
While Whistlepig says he “disputes” the notion that the celebration requires a big budget, he believes it is a mistake to tone down celebrations, particularly at a time of hardship.
“I don’t believe in restraint when it comes to celebrations. I think they [the Department] are underestimating the resilience of Park Animals. We will get through this [economic] tunnel and come out the other end. Saving a few Ftoo here and there is not going to make any difference to the outcome.”
Regardless of the size of the celebration, Whistlepig is confident that all Animals will enjoy the festivities.
“This is not a celebration to miss,” he says. “No matter how big or small, it is a very important part of The Park’s social season, and it speaks to our sense of ourselves as Park citizens. No one should miss it.”
Groundhog Day celebrations will begin 1 Barnabus with the prediction of 28 AZ POPS (Park Official Prognosticator of Spring), Elisabetta Mary Marmot. The prediction is expected to occur any time between 07:33 and 07:49. Following the sealing of the Proclamation, the Archons will deliver their annual Groundhog Day address. The Groundhog Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 08:30, followed by the 2-kilometre tunnel race. Food stations will remain open from 08:00 until 3:00.. The full Groundhog Day schedule will be posted at the Law Courts on 28 Proto.