Fayette County

Neighborhood lady dresses the part on Groundhog Day

Amya Linton, 9, and Uzziel Batres visited with Stacey Underhill who donned a groundhog costume and spread some love on Groundhog Day by waving to passersby and giving Groundhog Day stickers to children on Old Paris Pike at the entrance of Old Paris Place subdivision on Tuesday.
Amya Linton, 9, and Uzziel Batres visited with Stacey Underhill who donned a groundhog costume and spread some love on Groundhog Day by waving to passersby and giving Groundhog Day stickers to children on Old Paris Pike at the entrance of Old Paris Place subdivision on Tuesday. Herald-Leader

Stacey Underhill says she loves using her groundhog costume to bring smiles to people’s faces.

On Tuesday afternoon, Underhill donned the costume and handed out stickers to children on Old Paris Pike.

“It just kind of brightens people’s day,” she said. “Even grown adults that don’t get into that stuff ... it makes them smile.”

Groundhog Day is a big deal for Underhill, who hosts an annual party on the day.

“I think it’s one of the holidays that people should have off work,” she said.

She planned to host a small get-together Tuesday night and serve “groundhog stew” (spaghetti) and cookies shaped like groundhogs.

The tradition began 10 years ago, when Underhill and a roommate decided to have a party, and the best date turned out to be Feb. 2.

“I made a Pin the Tail on the Groundhog game and we got Woodchuck beer,” she said. “People had a blast.”

Two years ago, things got serious when Underhill bought the groundhog costume. She’s used it to entertain children at a few birthday parties, and recently when a friend trapped a groundhog in his yard, Underhill appeared in costume to help release the groundhog into the wild.

“I’ve had so much fun with it,” Underhill said.

Even without a groundhog costume, there was plenty to smile about Tuesday: Punxsutawney Phil, the official prognosticator of spring’s arrival, did not see his shadow, signaling an early spring.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday should be windy, with a high of 56. The rest of the week will offer sunshine, with highs in the upper 30s and 40s.

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