Hat contest part of Groundhog Day fun

By Juliette Coulter

As the Dallas Arboretum prepares for Dallas Blooms, the Southwest’s largest floral festival, many may wonder when spring arrives in 2021. What better way to find out than to bring in everybody’s favorite meteorologist — the groundhog!

Will Arboretum Annie see her shadow this year?
Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden hosts its third annual Groundhog Day celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6:30 to 9 a.m., in A Tasteful Place, which overlooks White Rock Lake and the Dallas skyline. Those interested in joining the festivities and shadow-watching are welcome to attend the event for free with paid garden admission. General garden admission is $5 from now until February 19. Tickets must be pre-purchased online at dallasarboretum.org or by calling 214-515-6615. Masks are required for the duration of one’s visit. 

Guests are invited and encouraged to wear any type of hat (Texas-style for Groundhog Day) for a hat contest. Materials are provided on site, and attendees are welcome to further embellish their hats. At the end of the event, a hat contest winner is selected and receives a prize.

Jim Ryan, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, said: “As a garden and outdoor venue that’s open 362 days a year, the Dallas Arboretum revolves around the weather. That said, we want to know whether we’ll have an early spring or not, so our groundhog, Arboretum Annie, helps us predict the weather.”

 According to folklore, if a groundhog comes out of hiding and sees her shadow, she is scared and runs back inside, meaning six more weeks of winter. If she doesn’t see her shadow, spring arrives early, which for the Arboretum would be just in time for Dallas Blooms. Themed “America the Beautiful,” Dallas Blooms, presented by IBERIABANK/First Horizon, opens on February 20 and runs through April 11.

For Groundhog Day, guests are encouraged to come as early as 6:30 a.m., where there are breakfast and beverage items available for sale and a free hot chocolate for each guest. The program begins at 7:15 a.m. in time for sunrise at 7:21 a.m. when the Arboretum officials release Arboretum Annie to see if she sees her shadow. After that, visitors are welcome to take selfies with the famous groundhog until 8:30 a.m., make groundhog crafts, visit the science activity tables conducted by our Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden staff, and watch the iconic “Groundhog Day” movie with Bill Murray at 9:30 a.m.