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Groundhog mascot rescued from attack at annual party

A group of college-age men attacked a groundhog mascot at Punxsutawney Phil's annual forecasting party, starting a fight in which observers rescued the costumed performer.

Denny Rebuck, co-chairman of Punxsutawney's Groundhog Festival, said he was jumped by six men as he walked through the crowd Monday morning at Gobbler's Knob."The audience came to the rescue and I walked away," he said. "I'm sore in the chest where one kid got a good punch in on me."

Rebuck said he was pushed to the ground. Though hampered by his bulky, $4,000 costume, he said he caught one of his attackers in a headlock. The man was able to escape when onlookers stormed in.

"One lady grabbed a kid by the shirt and swing him around and threw him to the ground," Rebuck said.

One of the attackers grabbed the foot of Rebuck's costume and headed for the nearby woods, but a man chased him down and recovered it. Rebuck managed to hang onto the costume's head.