Feb 1, 2024 - Food and Drink

Des Moines' High Life Lounge celebrates 20th Groundhog Day party

Polk County Paula holds up a beer

High Life Lounge's 2020 Groundhog Day party. Photo: Christopher Maharry, courtesy of High Life Lounge

Polk County Paulaour city's very own spring prognosticator — celebrates her 20th birthday Friday during High Life Lounge's annual Groundhog Day party.

Driving the news: The 1960s-themed bar is giving away free Miller High Life from 6-8am and serving breakfast until 11am.

  • And, of course, expect Paula's prediction for spring at sunrise around 7:26am.

How it started: When High Life Lounge first launched 20 years ago, the owners weren't sure of an exact opening day due to the permitting and inspection process, event coordinator Melinda Toyne tells Axios.

  • When it became clear they could open on Groundhog Day, they decided to fully embrace the theme — especially since a live groundhog lived next door in a storage space (now el Bait Shop.)

What happened: While using a live groundhog isn't actually feasible, .. our costumed Polk County Paula may be one one the most beloved groundhogs anyway, as she's one of the very few that give free beer out.

What's new: This year's theme celebrates the end of caucus season and "everyone being thrilled we don't have to look at campaign ads anymore," Toyne says.

If you go: Starts at 6am, 200 SW 2nd St., Des Moines

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