Lexington groundhog fan gearing up for her big day

FILE: February 2, 2017

LEXINGTON (WDKY) - When Stacey Underhill wants to work, she's in her garage, turning out pottery-- vases and bowls that are pieces of art. When she wants to play, she puts on a suit.

She says Groundhog Day is her favorite holiday.

For the past 12 years, Stacey has had her friends over for a Groundhog Day party, complete with groundhog stew (spaghetti), special desserts and Woodchuck cider. Her favorite movie, "Groundhog Day," plays in the background.

She can't really explain her obsession with groundhogs. Her friends know she just likes to be different.

"They think I'm nuts," she says.

"I'll invite people and they're like, 'I've never been to a Groundhog's Day party,' " she says. To her, that's strange.

But the fun starts long before the party, when Ms. Underhill goes undercover. She purchased a groundhog costume a couple of years ago and wears it every February 2nd.

She emerges from her burrow and goes out into the world to spread some groundhog cheer, waving at cars and school buses along Bryan Station Road and getting lots of honks in return. Stacey never breaks character.

"A lot of it is big mannerisms," she says. " I don't speak when I'm in it because I don't want anyone to recognize my voice. I never take the head off in front of children."

If people stop for a picture, Stacey's friend Rachel Eldridge rewards them with a sticker.

Rachel says she thinks it's fun to make the day as positive as possible.

But this is not just a February fascination. Stacey's alter ego appears at birthday parties and other events throughout the year.

So now you know. Pennsylvania may have the famous Punxatawney Phil, but Lexington also has a wacky woodchuck. When it come to spreading cheer, she casts a pretty long shadow.


If you want to catch the groundhog in public, she'll be along Bryan Station Road in front of Hi-Acres Shopping Center this Friday at 2:30 p.m. That's when the school buses go by.

"Spirit of the Bluegrass" is sponsored by Regency Memory Care.

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