To the roars of a capacity, but chilly crowd outside the Wiarton arena, Wiarton Willie awoke from his winter slumber and did not see his shadow Saturday.

Folklore suggests that means Ontario will enjoy an early spring.

The crowd loved the prediction.

Phil Crombie from Wiarton said, “Thank goodness, it’s been so cold and snowy here. We deserve an early spring.”

Up until 24 hours before prediction morning, the roads leading in and out of Wiarton were closed due to blowing snow and whiteouts.

Wiarton received 70 cm of snow this week, so there was an appetite for winter to end early.

Premier Doug Ford make the trek from Toronto to hear the good news.

South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson said he’s the first premier to ever attend a Wiarton Willie Festival.

"Long winter or early spring, Ontario is the best place in the world to enjoy any season," Ford said.

Bill Walker, Minister of Government and Consumer Services and MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen sound, joined Ford at the festivities.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, I am thrilled to have Premier Ford join my constituents and people from across the province, country and world for the famous Wiarton Willie Festival," said Walker.

"The festival on Groundhog Day is a long-standing tradition (for 63 years) that truly exemplifies the charm of the Wiarton community."