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WATCH: Willie predicts an early spring

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After a brief moment of contemplation, Wiarton Willie’s human interpreter shared his winter weather prediction with the world.

“Willie didn’t see his shadow, so we’re going to have an early spring,” said South Bruce Peninsula Mayor, Garry Michi.

Willie’s prediction was met with cheers from the assembled crowd who braved -15 C temperatures to hear Willie’s prediction, in person, for the first time since February 2020.

“Thank goodness. I wanted an early spring,” said Tom Wiggers.

“I’ve had enough of winter. Bring on spring,” said Julie Smoppel.

This was both Mayor Michi and this version of Wiarton Willie’s first prediction together.

Mayor Michi was just elected in October and the new Wiarton Willie replaces a brown-coated understudy who took over for another albino marmot last year, after the previous groundhogs untimely demise due to a tooth abscess in late 2020.

“I had my granddaughter teach me ‘groundhogese.’ She’s only 8 [years old,] but she picked it up quicker than me, but we figured it out,” said Michi.

Wiarton Willie bucked the North American trend, by selecting an early spring.

Shubenacadie Sam and Puxsutawney Phil both saw their shadows, therefore calling for six more weeks of winter.

“This was this Willie’s first year, so I’ll give him a pass, because I think he got it wrong. Six more weeks of winter, for sure,” said Sharon Roote.

This was the first in-person prediction ceremony in two years in Wiarton thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.

A crowd of nearly 1,000 people braved the cold Thursday morning to hear what Willie and Mayor Michi had to say.

“It’s just nice to see a sense of community back in Wiarton. We’re so happy to see folks back in South Bruce Peninsula for this” Michi concluded.

The Wiarton Willie Festival continues this weekend in Wiarton with a multitude of outdoor events, including skating, axe throwing and life-size outdoor foosball. 

 

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