Honorary Tonganoxie Phil to be revealed at Groundhog Day ceremony Friday morning in downtown Tonganoxie

Tonganoxie Phil saw his "groundhog" shadow Monday, which means Tonganoxie will have six more weeks of winter. Phil Stevens, a longtime Tonganoxie physician, wears another hat every February as Tonganoxie's answer to Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pa. Enlarge photo

February 1, 2018

Locals can find out tomorrow whether an early spring is ahead or more winter is on its way.

The tradition of Tonganoxie Phil will continue at 9:15 a.m. Friday outside Ol’ Doc’s Pop Shop in the 600 block of Fourth Street.

An honorary Tonganoxie Phil will emerge from the store to see whether he spots his shadow.

The soda shop is the former home to Dr. Phil Stevens’ medical office where the physician practiced medicine for 60 years. Stevens died in his sleep after celebrating exactly 60 years as a doctor earlier that day July 2, 2015.

In addition to legacy as a local doctor, Stevens also took on the persona of Tonganoxie Phil.

Several years ago, a Kansas City radio station wanted to interview a Phil from Tonganoxie as an answer to Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil. The station found Stevens, and each February, Stevens would give the station is prognostication. When the station discontinued its tradition, The Mirror continued the annual event by interviewing Stevens after each Groundhog Day.

The good doctor never was short on quips.

“I’m batting about .500, which is better than George Brett did," Stevens said in a 2014 interview.

He said that year that he didn’t see his shadow that particular Groundhog Day.

“That means we’re destined for an early spring,” he said. “The only thing good you can say about February is it’s short.”

The public is encouraged to come to Stevens’ former office for the Friday morning ceremony, as the honorary Tonganoxie Phil will be revealed during the event.

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