Sonic Hedgehog Day
Image: Sega

30 years ago, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was officially released for the Sega Genesis in North America (on February 2nd, 1994), with Sega hijacking the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to mark the special occasion.

The sequel, developed by Sega Technical Institute in the US, once again saw Sonic & Tails battling against the evil Doctor Robotnik to foil his plans of stealing the Chaos Emeralds and introduced players to Knuckles the Echidna. It was initially envisioned as a single game along with Sonic & Knuckles. However, Sega was eventually forced to split it in two due to the game's scope exceeding the available cartridge size and a pre-existing commitment to the fast food chain McDonald's.

To celebrate the North American launch, Sega of America decided to try and repeat the success of Sonic 2sday, embarking on another calendar-based promotion called "Hedgehog Day".

For this event, it took over the annual Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney, giving a special world premiere of the game to a local Junior High school and flying a giant Sonic balloon over the small town (this was the same balloon that had previously burst during the Macy's Day Parade in 1993)

You can watch the Hedgehog Day commercial produced for the release below, as well as the raw satellite footage that Sega sent to television stations at the time.