1984: Trumpets, balloons and fanfare grace groundhog ahead of big day

Posted at 5:28 AM, Feb 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 05:28:06-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Looking to improve her 1-1 record of winter weather prognostication, a groundhog named Henrietta emerged from her den at the Indianapolis Zoo 40 years ago this week.

With fanfare fit for a queen, the 3-year-old woodchuck emerged from a den named “Cabin Fever” on Feb. 2, 1984.

WRTV reporter Barb Love was on scene talking to zookeepers who noted the groundhog's increased anxiety ahead of Groundhog Day.

“Anxiety, biting, crawling up the keeper, those are the usual symptoms as the day approaches,” Paul Grayson of the Indianapolis Zoo said.

Some of that anxiety may have been the result of trumpets blaring from members of the Arlington High School band. Or perhaps it was an appearance by Captain Balloon.

Regardless, Henrietta improved her prediction record in 1984. She saw her shadow and correctly predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

Henrietta followed in the footsteps of the Indy’s trailblazing groundhog Charles Sterling Winchester III.