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A Groundhog Day scandal? Potomac Phil denies rumors of collusion

Potomac Phil and Punxsutawney Phil have made the same weather prediction for the last six years. (Photocredit Aaron DeNu)
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Aaron DeNu does not want your spare rodents. “I get a lot of emails from people who say, ‘We have a groundhog in our yard, can we bring him to you?’ ” he says. “I have to keep saying, ‘No, thank you, we are happy with the one we have.’ ”

That would be Potomac Phil, a taxidermied animal that DeNu has been bringing to an annual Dupont Circle Groundhog Day celebration since 2012. Donated by Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot, Potomac Phil makes two predictions every year: one about the advent of spring, and the other about the political climate.

“He’s always predicted six more weeks of political gridlock, and so far, he’s always been right,” DeNu says.

As president of Dupont Festival, DeNu is responsible for translating the long-deceased marmot’s nonverbal cues, which are quite subtle.

“I look at his facial expression, posture and intensity, the glare and gaze in his eyes,” DeNu says.

So far, Potomac Phil’s predictions have always agreed with those of his more famous counterpart, Punxsutawney Phil.

However, some conspiracy theorists say he’s just copying the Pennsylvania rodent, who always makes his prediction at 8 a.m., while Potomac Phil’s prognostication comes a half-hour later.

“There has been no collusion between Potomac Phil and Punxsutawney Phil,” DeNu says of the rumors. “Absolutely no collusion.”

DeNu, who is a fan of the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” invites Bill Murray to the event every year, but has yet to get a response.

“I keep waking up and having the same day over and over again [where I’m not] able to get ahold of him,” he says. “We have a top hat ready if he does show up.”

Whether or not Murray makes an appearance, there will be a polka band on site, plus snacks and coffee. Just don’t be late, DeNu advises.

“We like to wrap up quickly so everyone can get to work on time,” DeNu says.

Dupont Circle; Fri., 8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m., free.