WIARTON, ONT. —
February 2, will be a little different in Wiarton, this year.
“Covid has changed our lives in every possible way, and that doesn’t preclude the 65th anniversary of the Wiarton Willie Festival,” says South Bruce Peninsula Mayor, Janice Jackson.
Canada’s preeminent weather forecasting groundhog will still make his spring prediction at 8:07 am, the morning of February 2, 2021. He just won’t be doing it in front of a throng of fans. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a virtual prediction ceremony will happen in it’s place.
“Willie is iconic, right. He’s know around the world. It’s a real focal point for our community, and a real sense of pride. So to cancel the prediction ceremony itself, was really not something we contemplated,” says Jackson, who also also act’s as Willie’s “interpreter” on prediction morning.
Willie’s 2021 prediction, his 65th such prognostication, will be live-streamed from Wiarton, for people to enjoy from the comfort of their home. All other Wiarton Willie events, surrounding prediction morning, have been cancelled due to gathering limits, and Covid-19 regulations.
“The show must go, and Willie’s going to make his prediction and I think it’s going to be great,” says Mayor Jackson.
As Ontario embarks on another lockdown, and what many are describing as a “dark winter” due to Covid-19, Jackson says Willie’s prediction may be the distraction people need right now.
“I think everyone is hoping for an early spring, so I’ll give him a little whisper in his ear, please early spring, Willie. But you know, it’s whether he sees his shadow or not, so we’ll see what happens, and cross our fingers,” says Mayor Jackson.